Sunday, 30 January 2011

Traning day and a walk on the bridle way

This week has been house-training week for Milly and Maud.
The moving from house->  to dog's home -> to new house,  has either unsettled them completely, or no-one had really taken the trouble to go through the effort of house training them in the first place, but the amount of floors we have cleaned and throws we had to wash was becoming  really silly.
As you can read here, on " house-breaking the older dog , to adopt an older dog from a  shelter, ( Maud and Millie are already a year old  and not puppies)- a new doggie companion will probably find the new experiences of moving to a new owner and new house, very stressful. The new home is unfamiliar - they initially do not know where they are or even where the doors are that lead outside. They may or may not have been housetrained previously.

The kind neighbour who popped in to see them when I was away, gave me an invaluable tool and very useful advice.She had a huge crate from the time her dogs were puppies and she lent it to me, and adviced crate-training as the solution.
I can never thank her enough.
I took the subject of house-training up with my vet.
My vet- a horsey woman with a heart of gold who sent me a condolence card when my cat died,  and usually kindness itself , gave me short shrift : " Looks like you inherited someone else' s problem. Either you keep them in a kennel outside the house or you cage-train them. That is your only chance."
I looked up " cage-training" and followed the advice and the schedule for this training by a chap called Eamon Patrick Riley  who is a certified Master Trainer  and associated with the Dog Man Training Company, and who is also member of the Association of Canine Behavior Counselor .I followed his schedule to the letter.
His website you can find here , it's a dog's website full of  sensible advice.
It is absolutely true that dogs see this cage , if you handle it properly, and make it into a place of safety with soft toys,and treats and without forcing them into it , as a safe place.
Both Millie and Maud retreat there to eat their chewies and treats.
The cats are very envious of the cage and especially Thomasina tries to go into it or climb on it so during the time Millie and Maud are supposed to be in the cage, I keep the cats away.

Here are Millie and Maud on one of their "toilet-breaks"." If the puppy attempts to engage you in play, stand still with your arms folded across your chest" so says Eamon Patrick Riley .The objective really is to re-inforce that outside is for going to the loo, and inside certainly is not. Playing can only be done when the pup has comleted the " task in hand " as Mr Riley so delicately puts it.
So far, so good.The " accidents" have dwindled to a minimum.
Next week is the period where we are going to try to train with more time outside the cage.
The weather remains cold and frosty which is a Godsend in certain respects, as some walks would have been very muddy, but have now become very firm and frosted over.
The bridle way near is is a lovely long stretch of a walk which my old dogs, Harris and Sophie used to adore.
It has a huge field where Harris and Sophie used to race around excitedly in huge circles.It was planted with oyung cabbage it seemed so we had a look but thought of the farmer and gave it a miss... and just kept on the path.

Training day allows Maud and Millie to have a few hours " of" from 5.00 pm. till 8.00 pm.
So that is spent contendly on the sofa- play-fighting and snoozing...
So overall it was a good week...

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Games and walks- the big Ridge

It was lashing it down with rain when we struggled up the big Ridge this weekend-such a great view once you're at the top -  and this is when it's great to have a dog ( or two ).. you would never in a million years go out if you would not have to walk your dog in some weather- but then when you do, and you get through the first " O goodness this is pretty cold/wet/windy"- it's actually very enjoyable and you start to enjoy it almost as the dogs..
Maud and Millie raced up and down and were eventually soaked through, as we were, but it was worth seeing their happy faces while they were running like crazy..the big Ridge lived up to it's expectations after all.
Magnificent view, magnificent experience.
And so nice to be back inside by the fire !!
A new game was developed by Maud.
Take the ball...
Drop it off the sofa......jump off, fetch the ball and...

Jump on the sofa  .
Then drop the ball off again...great fun.Who would have thought you could get so much enjoyment out of a simple little ball??

Thursday, 13 January 2011

All cosied up

The received wisdom for calming  insecure dogs from a dog's home seems to be , to give them their own safe place, with a basket, blankets, and cuddly toys- so that was the way it was going to be.
Hardly any place to sit with an enormeous cuddly ice-bear twice the size of the dogs themselves- but it seemed to do the trick.
Not sure if I should not give the cats some cuddly toys  as well - there was quite a bit of interest..or maybe they just thought it all super strange..

There was a lot of snorting with laughter , happy faces and play-fighting going on.
And no matter how many teddys you give them, they will always want the one the other had got...o-yes indeed.
So strenghtened by this succes, off I went to get some small bouncy balls for the dogs and some fake mice made of sisal with an exciting feather for the cats- so they would not feel left out this time.But I suppose one should not think in stereotypes.

After recieving their present, they all decided the other fellow's stuff was much more exciting.It was the cats who chased the tennis balls, and the dogs who were running around with the sisal mice...
O, well.... toys are toys!

I am linking this post to Debbiedoos - go and check out all the pets there !!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Everything you can do I can do better

I suppose I should not have put the dog travel-bed down in the hall and turned my back.
But there you are.The territory was claimed by Thomasina.
And to make sure Maud and Millie knew, who was there first,
she had a go with her tiny sharp cat's teeth at the splendid bone I just bought for the dogs which supposedly is to keep tartar at bay.
I guess cats can have tartar too.Should have bought a family pack.

A wintry walk

It was cold and dark when we set out for a late afternoon walk, with crisp ice cracking under you feet.
Millie and Maud raced like two small hyperspeed trains the hills up and down , excited by all the smells and the cackling of the pheasant who were just starting to stettle down for the evening.
The pheasant pen was deserted, the birds kept wisely to the trees .

There is a long stretch of land between the woodlands , as far as the eye can see , all brown plowed land- perfect for getting some nice muddy feet and sinking in.The going was pretty hard over it, so soon  both Millie and Maud stuck to the path instead as there was still enough excitement in the reeds where loads of field mice had left their scent.
  It was dark pretty quickly, as it is still so early in the year, so it was back to a roaring fire and a good rest.
Humans are pretty good recliners by the way...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

The binman cometh

The binman cometh- or rather he had been and gone before we realised.
So it was  time , with all the excess Christmas bin bags,  to go and travel to the nearest recycle place.
This is great fun . The amount  of furniture-  perfectly lovely Lloyds Loom's garden chairs- I have got from that place just before it gets chucked on a big pile is amazing.
Luckily Maud and Millie were equally excited.
Car + leads = great excitement.
The place was full of big stern men in tracksuits chucking bin bags, baby strollers and cookers on huge piles- most excellent. A comtemporary Hieronymus Bosch picture but then fun.
At a mile away is a huge strange wasteland with fir trees and rabbit holes and vole dwellings.
I have never seen two dogs run around so fast and so happily.

Investigating was taken very seriously.
So it was no surprise they slept like a log once they were back.
Toys are being swapped and pinched from each other then cuddled up to for a big pre-dinner snooze.
Not a bad day.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Happiness for a little doggie is sleeping upside down...

It's been a couple of exciting few days for Maud and Millie.
First there was the visit of the German best friend of Modern Country Lady.Champagne flowed and the kitchen was filled with lots of loud laughter.
Sometimes a bit too much laughter for little dogs who want to have a nap.
Then the next day, there was a long visit to the grandparents.Maud and Millie assisted grandpa with his healthier lifestyle by jumping right on top of his paper- because they know it is much better for him to go out for a walk.
It's not us who take the dog for a walk, but the dog who takes us out!!
Then today, they met lots of other dogs at the dogwalker's house which was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.
All in all, it has been pretty tiring.
for Maud.
and for Millie.
Tiring but fun.The cats are split in two camps- Gibson and Thomasina have retired to two separate drawers in the cupboard and keep themselves to themselves, and Tilda struts the corridors with the two pooches and holds amiable conversations with them: three little shapes in white and black and orange chatting away.
And Maud is resting like a real terrier.
Happiness for a little doggie is sleeping upside down...

Monday, 3 January 2011

The mighty oak on the green

The mighty oak on the green was as far as Maud and Millie went today. Lots of rabbit holes to inspect and to put wet black noses in.
It was cold and it threatened to snow, with the occasional snowflake spiralling down as though they were caught in a glass globe full of twirly white flakes.
So it was lovely to be back inside and cosy up on the sofa.
And the fraternisation with the other team-members of Modern Country Lady is going really remarkably well.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Decaying grandeur and rabbit droppings extravanganza

There is an ancient forest near where we live, and it was time to explore this with Maud and Millie.
The bracken was not as glorious as in autumn after the snow and frost had taken it's toll, but still exciting enough with endless possibilities of flushing out pheasants, rabbits and deer.
The forest is part of a big estate which is "to be developed" ( God save us )  into a golfcourse for some conglomerate, but at the moment it is safe enough and in just the right kind of decaying grandeur.
Maud and Millie went wild with excitement.This is definitely the sort of place where they want to be.
Past some supposedly electric fencing which was luckily switched off, they had a great time chasing each other around.
What joy is there is to be had from the happiness of two little dogs!They reached some staggering speeds and I am sure would have given a greyhound a run for his money!
The best thing about this wide meadow was for free- endless rabbit droppings.
Why dogs consider this a delicay I will never know.But it was the best part of the day for them.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year's day

The mud and melted snow were great fun on the canal-walk, and Millie and Maud managed to get inky black feet, so that was very satisfying for little dogs.
The ice still seemed frozen on the canal, but Maud just wanted to make sure it would still hold by trying to jump on the ice.
"What's the good of a walk if you can't get muddy and wet ", she seemed to say.

The late afternoon brunch was a good way of trying out some new delicacies like smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, which were really good but both Millie and Maud agreed there was just not enough of it.

Then there was a bit of socialising with the cats who have taken to sitting in really high places which was a bit annoying as they could not be reached-.

After a bit of a play-fight it was time to have a nap for Maud.

and a nap for Milly.

What a good way to end New year's day!