Happy memories from Betty and Bronte’s puppyhood and a younger Pie!

Avril Munson's Blog

Betty had a busy week with Smarty her brother visiting one day and the next Bronte, the Border Collie puppy that Annie has waited 6 years for(see Bronte’s story), coming over the next day! I like my puppy to meet up regularly with the dogs and puppy’s that she will be meeting throughout her life, that way they become part of the extended pack, which makes my life easy whenever they meet. These are the dogs she can enjoy a social life with, not the strange ones in the park that we might only meet once! As most of my friends are dog trainers or at least train their dogs properly, I can also use these dogs to train Betty how to behave with other dogs. That means no rough games are allowed and Betty has to recall to me in the middle of the fun, ensuring she learns to…

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Yesterday my dear Black Rock chickens Doris and Dodger were the victims of my neighbour’s dogs! What did they do to deserve being butchered in their own pen? Nothing, they aren’t even afraid of dogs, they are used to my dogs being around them and not bothering them other than to eat there pellets, they were even more helpless than less socialised hens!  I feel terrible, it happened to creatures in my care, they were my pets giving me eggs to eat in return for safety, food and care. At least I thought they were safe!

One of the worst things is my neighbours reaction was denial, these dogs have never killed they say. How would they know? My sister has found them wandering loose on the road and taken them home on 3 occasions. I have found them in my garden and rung them to come get them home. At Christmas the Labrador came and had a go at Pie over the fence, luckily someone is always close at hand even when my dogs are out in their own garden and a worse event was avoided!

If a dog is out of sight it is likely learning to hunt! Hunting doesn’t happen overnight it takes many days practice, a lot of hours off lead. Some take longer than others, some are more natural hunters. If a dog chases any other animal or bird, eventually it will get lucky and catch one, the next step is they will kill it, once they kill they will get faster and better at the job, it is what dogs do! Two dogs together are even more effective; they can corner and kill very fast.  That is how packs have survived for centuries. It’s not like this behaviour is weird or strange, it is what untrained dogs do! It is what they had to do in the wild to survive, but we can control them!

2 weeks ago I told my neighbours  their dogs had killed one of the hens, I didn’t find her body, I saw the dogs flush her out of my paddock into their land, she didn’t come home! Just because there was no evidence I could offer they argued and denied the event. I heard them calling the dogs for several minutes, they couldn’t see them, and they assume all is well!

Please don’t be an Ostrich, we do not live in a Disney film, dogs are real animals, and if you ever forget it bad things happen to remind us. My hens are dead, they won’t be back but maybe just maybe a few people will read this and change their behaviour and that of their dogs and some other pets won’t die as a result, you won’t find your pet mutilated in its own garden!

Dog don’t just change overnight, it may seem they do, but learning is a process, when a dog catches, kills, bites, other creatures or people they have been practicing for some time and no one intervened! Please intervene, even if it is just to pass this on to someone who needs to hear this today!

Take your time!

July 29, 2013

This morning, as I was putting my horse’s head collar on, I found myself starting to rush, as he turned his head away I went after his head, it was like I was being pulled around just to put on a head collar! I stopped, I would never do  that with a dog, any dog! I slowed down and waited for Red to settle down, every time he moved his head I stopped. It took a while, maybe 2 minutes at most to put on his head collar with no fidgeting, not forever, just a little time for me to teach him so that tomorrow the process will be quicker, but if it isn’t I will slow down again!

He doesn’t always do that, he was impatient to get out in the field, he knew what was coming next. Just like a dog knows he is going for a walk and gets impatient and fidgety! Next time your dog fidgets around as you put on the lead or collar, just slow down take your time, take as long as it takes. By bring down the adrenaline in this way your whole walk will improve, it will be worth it, let me know how long it takes you next time you put a collar or lead on your dog!

Red, my nephew Mac and Doyle (son of my Teddy!)

Red, my nephew Mac and Doyle (son of my Teddy!)

I went into see Mark Punter at the Chelmsford studio to record my top dog training tips for his show this week. Mark will play one each afternoon, on Friday I am there for a live phone in! you can listen again on the iplayer if you miss the show on Friday! So no excuse. There is one top tip per day and I chose them this time from my clients suggestions, so your fault if you don’t like them :). I would really appreciate it if you can listen in and if you enjoy the show go on the BBC Essex Facebook page and let them know you like me please? That’s if you do!

As I arrived who should I bump into coming out the front door but Batman! I took a photo, not the best sorry, but wanted you to know I wasn’t making it up!!

You never know who you are going to meet!

You never know who you are going to meet!

Can you please send in some silly photo's for the blog?

Can you please send in some silly photo’s for the blog?

Not that I think little Roxy looks silly, I was just looking through my dog photo’s and I have plenty of winter theme photo’s but not so much summer ones, maybe we can jog the weather along if we get summery!!

My tip for today was prompted by 2 of my clients yesterday, in separate lessons, both of whom will remain nameless! If you have a powerful dog on the end of the lead you must always stay aware of where the dog is and how you are holding the lead. I caught both my ladies holding the lead over one finger, yes one finger! Both complain of being dragged and having difficulty holding on their dog, not surprising is it?!

Always think power position when holding the lead, that means keep your feet apart for balance, and both hands, if possible, on the lead, but never less than one hand!

Posh puppy!

Posh puppy!

Toby (Betty baby) after a trip to the grooming parlour! Doesn’t he look gorgeous?! Lee is doing a great job of training Toby too, I can’t say too much or the rest of the litter will be jealous, but isn’t he handsome!?

My new puppy group reminded me to talk about titbit training today, my favourite analogy for titbits and puppy training is imagine you are paying the titbits into a bank account, every time you ask your puppy to do something without a reward you are making a withdrawal, with young puppies it is easy to become bankrupt, that is the puppy starts to ignore you! I always want to have a million on account! 🙂

Radio, snow and dates!

January 23, 2013

Rileysnowdog

With Steve Scruton leaving BBC Essex I did wonder if I would still get an invite as I would guess the show must be having a complete freshen up, new brooms and all! I did wonder if the sound advice would survive but I am pleased to report it has, though it will be different. Mark Punter the new presented came here this morning to record some top tips, it was really strange to be doing that at home, maybe it was because we were in the living room in front of the fire and not in the work room! (see below for times)

I have had Bonnie staying this week, Jo has been in India, soaking up some sun, though she did say on Facebook that she looked like a red lolly pop as the humidity was so high! We haven’t suffered with that problem  this week!

Thanks to Janice for  the photo of Riley enjoying the snow, he is so like Bonnie, she has looked just like that most of the week, not wanting to come in from playing with her Mum in the snow!

Here are some training dates, as normal all groups have a maximum of 5 dogs and handlers!

Recall training:

Taking place here at Bury Farm

  • Wednesday 30th January recall (beginner to intermediate dogs and handlers)
  • Saturday 9th Feb recall (advanced training for the more experienced amongst you, you do know who you are, if in doubt do ask me please?)

Group walk training:

One of these will be in Hylands Park the other to be confirmed according to demand, either Dunmow, Bishop Stortford’s Thorley Park or the Discovery centre on the A130 near Braintree.

  • Wednesday 13th February walk
  • Saturday 23rd February walk

BBC Essex Radio

You can hear me on Friday 1st February

A new format on BBC Essex Radio, with Steve Scruton off travelling the world and Mark Punter in charge, you can hear a dog training tip from me daily next week, culminating with me live in the studio, answering dog questions from listeners, on Friday between 2.15pm and 3pm, if you miss the show you can always catch up on the iplayer for the following 7 days!