Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Where did that come from?

To get me some fresh air to try and clear my head, and to make sure that Rodders didn't go stir crazy, we headed out for a walk this afternoon.

We headed up to the rugby field and down on to the Nicky Line so that he could have a bit of off lead time. He was so good, he did try to get back on to the rugby field in a couple of places but came back when called. He also spotted another dog quite a way behind us and stopped and looked at it but decided that me and treats was a better option.

Once we were level with the 5 A Side pitch we moved on to the field. There is something about being on grass that makes him more excited and he runs about more. I carried on walking don the field while he was chasing about and when I was almost at the end of the fence I called him to me. He came flying towards me and skidded to a halt ready for a treat. I slipped on his extendable lead so that we could carry on our walk.

When we were about half way along the side of the rugby pitch a Brindle Staffie came running up behind us. I looked about but couldn't see anyone else on the field at all. Luckily it seemed friendly and just wanted to play. Rodders was quite happy with that to start with and then the Staffie bowled him over a couple of times and so his tail went down and I could see that it wasn't fun any more. I was trying to keep my eye on the dogs and look out for signs of an owner, still no one else about.

I started to tell the Staffie off and it seemed to be paying attention. Then I spotted a lady with a pushchair coming up from the Nicky Line and calling him. The Staffie was torn and wanted to stay with us so I turned and started to walk a little way towards her. Eventually the Staffie went back to her and she told it to sit so that she could put his lead on, once he was back under control she shouted sorry before turning around and heading back the way she had come. It had taken her 5 minutes to find her dog and get it back to her at least.

Luckily Rodders didn't seem to bothered by the encounter and was quite happy to carry on our walk.

Rodders likes.....

When I fed Rodders last night I used the last of the fresh vegetables and meant to take the next lot out of the freezer. Feeling as awful as I was I forgot and fell asleep on the sofa instead.

So tonight when Rodders asked for his supper there was a bit of a panic. I took his vegetables out of the freezer and some bits were quite easy to get out of the bag as they hadn't frozen in a solid lump, just not as much as he would usually have. So I added some frozen peas to his bowl along with his kibble and he has eaten to all! He obviously likes frozen veg!

He has been such a good boy today as I have had to take the day off sick. He has spent a fair amount of the time in the garden and seems to be very interested in the birds. He has barked at big fat pigeons sat on the fence, he has eyed up the blackbirds eating bread on next doors lawn and he has chased the sparrows as they flit from the fence to the tree and back again. When inside he has also been quite cuddly and stayed up on the sofa with me for over an hour sleeping.

Rodders has also been happy to amuse himself and has emptied the toy box and then pushed it around the conservatory floor, that made a great noise. He has also run up and down from the conservatory to the lounge and back a few times with different toys having a great time.

He has also barked a couple of times, once to let me know he had managed to get his collar off again and another time to let me know that there was a pen on the floor. I keep saying how lucky I am that he is such a good boy but days like this remind me how much.

Last night

I got home from work last night feeling pretty dreadful (it is only a cold) but had a play with Rodders and gave him his tea.

By 7pm I was fast asleep on the sofa where I dozed for most of the evening. Rodders came up with me for a little while and washed my face for me before settling down for a cuddle. He then moved on to his bed pad at my feet.

Apparently my neighbour knocked the door a couple of times and Rodders didn't make a peep.

We gave up and went to bed at 10pm and there wasn't a peep out of him until he heard my 2nd alarm go just before 6.30am.

He really is such a good boy!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Rodders and his collar

Very odd, this has happened twice in the last week.

While Rodders is playing with one specific toy, his cow, he has managed to get his collar off. Both times he has just sat there and barked until I come to see why and there is his collar in a heap on the floor. He obviously knows he should be wearing it!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Rodders SHOULD be worn out

I don't know if it is because we were excited about today but Rodders and I have been up since 6am.

Before we left for Hayling Island he had played with his toys, eaten two kongs of kibble, played in the garden, played in the bathroom while I showered and run about excitedly once he realised I was packing a bag of things for him.

He spent a while in the car and then got to sit outside a cafe with me while I had a cuppa, then a visit to a public toilet with me, a short walk and then another sit down for another cuppa.

He was then popped back in the car for 10 minutes while we drove to the meeting point and as we were 2nd there he got to meet all the other dogs and owner as they arrived. He then walked and ran about for another two hours before being put back in the car for a 10 minute journey to the chip shop where he got tied up outside to a table (with Yvonne keeping a close eye on him) while I grabbed chips and a drink. He then played under the table with his friends Renae, Susie-Belle and Rupert. He had to come to the loo with me again before a quick walk across the beach and then back to the car for the journey home.

Once back he went straight in the garden for a play, then chased me about while I got changed and sorted myself out and then he played with his kong so I filled it up for him.

He eventually settled for a rest but that didn't even last 2 hours as the door went and disturbed him. I took the opportunity to give him his supper thinking he would collapse in a heap shortly after.

Nope, time for play! He has now learnt how to get under the chairs in the conservatory to get his toys back but couldn't be bothered tonight and just barked for me to come and get it, then he got his frisbee stuck between the wall and the papasan chair, then he wanted a cuddle......

He had better sleep well tonight!

Rodders is more like me than I realised

Even though there were lots of people and other dogs around today Rodders was happy to have a little time for himself.

Very strange as I do that when I am in a crowd too!

Rodders and Seamus playing

Rodders and Seamus spent a lot of time together today but I didn't get any decent photo's. I am hoping that Seamus's Mum and Aunty did so that they can send them to me. I did manage to get this video of them playing though!

It really was as though they remembered each other and lovely to see them together. I am happy to say that all my hard work with Rodders is paying off and he does generally come back when called, Seamus wasn't quite as well behaved unfortunately and had to be chased after and put back on his lead a couple of times when there was something more exciting to be doing (like playing with a lovely big black lab!)

There is a bit of a difference in size, Rodders being the smaller of the two, but he was smaller when I saw the whole litter together when they were six weeks old.

The Hayling Island Schanuzer Walk

Rodders and I set off early this morning to meet up with many Schnauzer wonder for a walk on Hayling Island. We had a great time with 26 Schnauzers in total walking along the Billy Trail and diverting off so they could have a dip in the water.

Even more special was that Rodders got to meet his littermate Seamus, can you guess which one he is from the following photo's?

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Done for today

Rodders has let me: Bath, dry, clipper his coat with the trimmers, clip his nails, pull hair out of his ears and has been a really good boy. I think it is a work in progress but he really has had enough for one day.

The first three pictures are before I started his face.

 After a bit of work on his face, but before I did his feet

Just a little bit more work

For someone that has never done anything like this before I don't think it is to bad a job!

How long will this take?

My plan for today is to groom Rodders in stages. He really is a bit mucky and smelly and in desperate need of a trim but it is the first time I have tried to clip him on my own. So we will do a little bit at a time and try to ensure that neither he, nor I, get stressed out by it.

So far he has been combed through and then bathed and dried.

The bath was interesting, we both got soaked and he did try to climb out a couple of times but we got there. He was very good while I did his body but he didn't like his face being done much. I also put conditioner on his legs and beard so it meant two lots of rinsing which I don't think he was very impressed at.

Once I lifted him out of the bath in a towel to get the worst of the water off him he had a good shake and pebble dashed the bathroom in water. I swapped to a dry towel to carry him downstairs and out him straight on the grooming table.

He was OK with the hairdryer mostly, but he didn't like it anywhere near his face. I tried to do it from above as much as I could but it wasn't too successful and drying his chin!

But he is now sparkly clean, dry and fluffy.

The clippers come out next......

An early morning walk on the Nicky Line

We were up early and it was a gorgeous morning so I threw on my clothes and headed out with Rodders to the Nicky Line. We walked all the way to Queensway and back with him off lead. He was having a great time but kept stopping if he got twigs or leaves stuck on him.

We stopped at the fallen logs for a photo opportunity and so that Rodders could check his PMail.

He didn't try to go up the steps by the church on the way back but he did run up the ones at the Rugby Field and no amount of calling was bringing him back - this is getting to be a habit.

Eventually I followed him to see where he had gone and he was sat where I usually swap his lead over to the extending one. As soon as I spotted him I asked him to wait and kept walking towards him. I put his lead back on and walked him back to the Nicky Line, it was a bit if a struggle and he fought against it to start with. Once back on the Nicky Line I walked a little way before letting him off again. A couple of times he tried to climb the bank and go on to the rugby field but I managed to keep him with me. He then tried going off the other way in to some garages but stopped and looked at me and came back when called. I wonder how long it will be before I am posting that I have lost him or spent hours trying to find him. His recall really does need to get better and quicker.

Once we got to the top of the rugby field, near the 5 A Side pitch we moved on to the field and I let Rodders stay off lead until we got to the end of the fenced in pitch. He was so excited to be on the field and off lead and he really was haring about like a mad thing.

Once we were in danger of him having the whole field to run in and my chances of getting him back were minimal I called him back, he looked at me and then the field and thought for just a second too long. I turned away and started walking away from him and that was enough to have him racing back to me.

I popped on the extendable lead and we walked back down the side of the field towards home.

I have been letting his lead go as we turn in the path and he is usually quite good and comes and sits on the front door step until I tell him he can come in the house. Today he just wanted to sit there and watch the world go by!

Friday evening walk

It was a lovely evening when I knocked off work at 4pm so I came home, changed my jeans, grabbed Rodders and headed out towards the Nicky Line.

We got almost half way to Queensway and we could hear one of those stupid little mini bikes coming towards us. I called Rodders back and held on to him as it came towards us. As soon as the hoodie wearing rider spotted us he turned around and went back the way he came.

I let Rodders go and we carried on, only for another hoodie wearing rider to come towards us on the same bike. As we got around the bend you could see 8 or 10 of the little blighters sitting and standing around the fallen logs. Now they could see us they were riding the bike in the opposite direction, there was no point carrying on so we turned and headed back from whence we came.

Rodders was quite happy sniffing about, running ahead of me, laughing a bit behind, being called for treats. He didn't try to go up the steps near the church but he did run up the steps to the rugby field and no amount of calling him was bringing him back.

Eventually, when he was out of sight, I followed him up there and found him sniffing in the long grass. As I put his lead on I told him off, not that he seemed bothered.

Most Fridays there seems to be a group of dog owners that meet at the far corner of the rugby field, as far away from the traffic as you can get.  Rodders and I walked up there to say hello and to let him chase about a bit with three Springers and a Collie. We were then joined by a crazy Cocker and a bouncy Lab who were running about in circles chasing each other. Rodders was desperate to join in this game and the extendable lead just wasn't long enough so I took a deep breath and let him off to play. He loved it, he and the Cocker were going mental chasing each other round in a figure of eight, stopping every now and again to put their heads down and bums in the air looking at each other before racing off again. After about 15 minutes it was time for everyone to move off and Rodders wasn't happy to come back to me and go on his lead. It took me a few seconds (but felt like an age) to get him back to me.

We headed back down the rugby field and towards home.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

New things

Rodders came with me to the car wash today, it isn't one of those horrid machine things it is a hand car wash. I wasn't too sure of what he would think as he doesn't like the car being stationary much but apart from a single bark, when I told him he had to stay, he was brilliant. And my car is now clean!

On our walk this afternoon he met a few new experiences while off lead. First he encountered bikes coming past us, he wasn't bothered by these and took himself off the path for a poo!

Next was another dog, also off lead. He was very good as it approached us. He was ahead of me and I asked him to wait and he did.  The owner walked past us and then the dog walked past. Rodders looked, turned his head, looked back and me and then tried to do a runner after it. I grabbed his collar quickly and stopped him. Don't know quite what I did next but I had Rodders in one hand and his collar in the other - oops! I got it back on quite quickly though.

Rather than have an issue at the steps by the church I called him back to me and popped his lead on. As we were walking under the bridge he decided to roll in the dust! He wasn't happy to be back on his lead and lead and kept stopping. At one point he lay down and refused to move, some more bikers were coming past us and they thought we had stopped to let them past!

Once we were past the steps and behind the gate I let the lead drop and he was happy to follow me. I caught hold of him before we got to the steps at the rugby field and we headed home. Back on Pentland I dropped the lead as we passed Bob and Pats and Rodders knew instantly. He bolted up our path, then ran on our front lawn, back to Peter & Ann's lawn and then to ours again, as he swung around each time his bum was up in the air and his head was down. I called him and made him come and sit and wait on the front door step.

Feeling uncomfortable after training school today

As we missed school yesterday I thought I should take Rodders today instead. Almost as soon as we got there I thought I had probably made a mistake as the dogs were all a lot older and more experienced but I thought it would be good experience for him and we can swap back to our usual class next week.

While we were waiting I struggled to get Rodders to stay sitting, he was desperate to say hello to the other dogs but neither them, or their owners seemed keen. One strange woman was walking round the edge of the grass with her Doberman and a plastic bag asking it to poo. I was amazed to see that when it did eventually poo it did it straight in to the carrier bag!

Pete, who owns the school, was taking the class and we had never had him as a trainer before either. We started with a walk to heel around the lake with a sit and down thrown in as we went. We stopped alongside the lake in a line and our dogs down. Pete walked along the line and back. He then asked us to step away from our dogs and he did it again. I didn't realise that most people had let go of their leads but I held on to mine and Rodders stayed put. We were off again and Rodders was messing about as he had something caught on him. I don't think Pete was very impressed with that and told us to jog to catch up when we were sorted.

We arrived on the field and were doing walk, turn, walk turn, stop and sit. We then did a right turn so we were all in a row and then the back dog weaved to the front, some of them off lead. One day, this may be us! After we have weaved though twice we then headed up to the field, past the agility, turned right and the dogs were allowed off lead. With all the big dogs about bowling him over Rodders wasn't doing so well and was constantly looking for me and running to me when called. His tail was well between his legs and he seemed quite unsettled by it.

Once we called our dogs to us, not that he was far from my side, we then had to do sit, wait and recall. Rodders is usually very good at this but today he was a nightmare. We were supposed to be moving away for increasing distances but each time I was 5 foot from him he came running back to me without being called. He didn't get many treats for this but I really do think he was a bit spooked.

Once we had done this a few times we were then supposed to walk away again and walk around other dogs, I just gave Rodders a wide berth and he did stay sitting until I returned to him. As we walked back up the field towards the agility course the dogs were meant to be running free, Rodders didn't really leave my side.

As we were waiting to start the agility Pete called me out of the line to check what Rodders was capable of. I told him that he could do the A Frame, the tunnel and low level jumps (about 6 inches) but he wasn't very keen on the lifebelt. He set out some low jumps and got us to go over them two or three times and then sent us back to the queue. We were behind the Doberman.

Rodders did quite well on his first go through but one the second go through Pete wanted him to try a jump about a foot high and he wouldn't do it. I said that I wasn't surprised as he really doesn't try to jump on furniture. That got me a lecture, no dog should be allowed on furniture so there should be no comparison.

When he had finished we walked away and took our place back in the queue behind the Doberman. She asked what breed Rodders was and said how cute he was. As we were talking I noticed that the Doberman had three collars on - a normal collar, a choke chain and a shiny black plastic one. I asked the owner what that was and she told me it is an electric collar. Having never come across them I asked how it worked  and she started to talk about dominance and it helped her to stop him terrorising her other dog and made him play nicely. I pressed her a bit further as I was still a bit unsure of how and she became quite defensive and said lots of people here use them and then turned away to pay attention to her dog. I was left feeling a bit uncomfortable by it.

We had another go at the agility and then we all stood in a circle and took turns at getting our dogs to retrieve their tuggy. Rodders did better at this than expected and I got a well done from Pete for encouraging him.

We then headed back towards the classroom with our dogs at heel and made them sit and wait at the door. Once inside we put them in to the down position and the woman with the Doberman came round and did the meet and greet  while Pete wrote up his book so he knew who was there. It was then time to pay and leave. As Rodders and I got to the door Pete called us back as he wanted a word. He thinks that I talk to Rodders too much, not always using the 7 training commands and that I am confusing him. Not sure I agree with him!

As we came out Sam was just starting the puppy class and she stopped to ask how Rodders got on. I said we did OK but it was obvious that thy dogs were much older and more experienced and we will be back to Saturday classes from now on. She agreed with me and laughed when I said that he was so spooked it had probably done my recall OK! She also told me that Pete is doing our class next Saturday, we may not be going then.

Since we left class I have been feeling more unsettled by it and I am wondering if it is time to look for a new training school. I don't even know if the electric collar was on today or of it contributed to how well the doberman was doing off lead but the fact that they even allowed it on him in class is enough to say that they condone it and I am not happy with that at all.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Saturday afternoon

When we got back to Kirstty's all was quiet and both dogs had been good so they got carrots as treats. Since Finnan has been poorly this is the only treat she is allowed, Rodders was not complaining at having to share them as he loves them too.

Today was the day that Kirsty decided to let go of all the treats she had in stock for Finnan and Rodders has come home with the lot, a whole big bag full. There are some things in there that he hasn't had before so we will have to see how he gets on with them. One thing is for sure, we won't need any more treats until April at the earliest!

We let both dogs out in to the garden for a run about and Rodders was very happy trundling around sniffing and trying to get Finnan to play with him. She wasn't up to it so I let him chase me about instead. When we came back inside Rodders seemed to have brought in half the shrubbery attached to his legs and beard but he was very patient and let me pick most of it off him without fuss.

Rodders wanted in and out to play and Kirsty took him out one of the time. He looked to be bolting down the end of the garden so she called him back, she was pleased to see that he came back without a problem and was then happier to let him roam a bit further.

The weather changed and it started to rain so we stayed indoors watching television. Rodders was happy to play with the toys I brought with me and Finnan sat up on the sofa with Kirsty, grizzling if Rodders went near. At one point she was sat on top of the sofa to keep away from him.

By about 4.30 Finnan seemed really fed up with the little upstart in her home and she really wasn't resting very much so I decided it was time to gather up our things and put the crate back in the car so that we could head home.

Just before we left I was apologising to Finnan because Rodders had been annoying him and Kirsty said that Rodders had been really well behaved and all the training I had done with him is working. I was one very proud Mummy!

A rare treat

Earlier this week I got a phone call from my sister to ask if I wanted to join her on a visit to a local hunt meeting today. We are lucky enough to know the Master of the Hunt and he knew that we would both enjoy it.

Rodders and I were up early so that we could get to my sisters and have time for him to have a runabout and a play before being left in his crate at hers.

We left for the hunt meet just before 10am and got there in time to join them for a cooked breakfast held in a barn at a farm. It was a brilliant set up and a great breakfast with Sausage, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, beans, bread, croissants, jam, marmalade, tea, coffee and orange juice. There were loads of tables and chairs set out in the middle and stalls around the edge and they had heaters running to keep us all cosy.

We were given the wink by the Master of the Hunt so that we could make sure that we were outside to see the arrival of the hounds, it is quite a sight to see them running up the drive to where the rest of the hunt participants were congregating. I did get to see the eagle, needed to give the hunt legal but missed the decent photo opportunity. It was lovely to see how many young riders were out there to join in the fun. The hounds were running about through the crowd, having a sniff here, a fuss there, having a great time. Once everyone had drunk their warming port and everyone was mounted up the hinting horn sounded and the hounds immediately stopped their fun and were ready for work.

The Master of the Hunt had been out the day before to set the trail, they tend to follow a scent set by humans nowadays rather than foxes so he was able to tell them which way they were heading off.  As a country girl I think this is a bit sad, but I am a traditionalist!