Happy Christmas 2011!

December 21, 2011

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Happy Christmas to all my clients, friends and family!!

Please send in your dog Christmas photo’s for the blog?

Special thanks to the Friday morning puppy group for dressing up for their last class! The weather was wicked hence we retreated into my utility room for our session, the planned games were replaced with behaviour theory. As you can see from the photo’s,  it was a very serious session 🙂

All my groups know they are special and unique, the Friday pups are now the special dressing up group!! I think there will be a queue to join them!

Wilbur the Pointer belongs to Jane, he loved wearing his hat! Ozzy the Cockerpoo belongs to Louise! Chips the Border Terrier belongs to Amy, both these guys loved being dressed up!

I won’t go into what makes the other groups special here, all I can say is they know who they are!

Thank you to everyone for giving me their support this year, I look forward to seeing you all in 2012!


Mollie lives with her family in Takeley, if you live in the area please keep an eye up for her, she is a dear little dog and I know her family are beside themselves with worry! I have a photo and their phone number if anyone can help please?

Emma writes:

Mollie is black body with tan legs (looks rather like a teddy bear).

Ross was walking them both along the Flitch Brewers End Takeley yesterday morning around 10am but Mollie never returned.

We had a call from Hatfield Forrest to say a man had our Mollie but after waiting all day it wasn’t Mollie!

I wondered if anyone had mentioned to you they had found a dog in the last few days?

We have informed the dog wardens in Uttlesford and Herts.

She is not microchip-ed 😦

Happy birthday Harley!

October 28, 2011

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Thank you to Smita for sending in the photo’s of Harley growing up, what a handsome boy he has grown into! I think this is a great idea for the blog to feature the puppy’s growing up, I think we just need to add some video’s to demonstrate how clever he has become too! Send in your growing up photo’s please?

Now I just need a camera person? 🙂

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Roxy and Diesel are in the Tuesday evening class together and it is definitely love! Diesel is rescued GSD who came to classes originally because he had some aggression issues with other dogs! You wouldn’t know it now! Don’t you just love how he is getting as small as he can to get on Roxy’s level?

Listen out for me on BBC Essex next Thursday 3rd November 2.15pm to 4pm, if you miss it you can listen in for the following 7 days on the iplayer

I was discussing at class the other week with Fiona and Sue (Thursday morning group) about their different expectations they have on their boy and girl dogs, both Sue and Fiona have one of each. They both reported they were always delighted with their boy dogs and quite the reverse with their girls, and yet from the outside both these little girls are trying their very best to please a great deal of the time! Interestingly Sue and Fiona reported their husbands were much softer on the girl dogs and more demanding on the boys in the home!

I know that this can be the case with children, that is Mothers are more critical of daughters and vice versa, whereas Dad’s give the girls an easier time and are more demanding of the boys. Has anyone else got a view on this? I can’t say I have really thought about this before, I am watching myself now with Pie and Betty, I will report back!

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Dog training classes have an issue that other evening class don’t experience, at least not that I know of? How many soft furnishing course tutor’s have students ring them to say, “I can’t get there this week, can I send my husband instead”? Or cookery tutor’s asked “I am poorly, is it okay if my son/brother/aunt/neighbour comes this week”? 🙂 I know you are smiling now! But however often I tell people that they are the ones learning, they still think the dog is being trained! And yes I have had a request for all of the above surrogates to bring the puppy to class!

I know that Mum’s get fed up with taking responsibility for everything domestic, believing that at least someone could get involved with training the puppy! The reality is it really is the handler I train, and this dog training lark is a skill, it is learning to communicate with another species and teach them to be obedient and good mannered! In fact the more people involved in  the training the more  the process is slowed down! For every person involved in the training, the poor puppy has to learn yet another set of physical and verbal commands, how hard is that?

The truth is that if one person takes on the job of training the family pet it will all work out fine, promise! The dog gets trained faster, everyone in the house gets to learn through observation, (there is nothing like a bit of successful dog training to get everyone mimicking the able dog trainer). I have witnessed first hand how, when my clients stop wanting involvement from the rest of the family and get on with the job themselves, success comes rapidly, the dog suddenly starts to get it! As a result the rest of the family want to walk or train the dog, because they are a joy to take out!

These photo’s feature the Thursday class, theyhave taken on all the training and are very successful in their dog training!

Edna and HarleySid is perfect!


Badger and Lucky

Not watership down!

September 6, 2011

It is sadly that time of year when the rabbits have Mixie again! I luckily saw Betty “playing” with a mixie rabbit in the garden this week, lucky because I was able to let her know that I didn’t like her doing that! I would have liked to have put the poor creature out of its misery, but sadly I cannot find that ability in me.

There was no way I want Betty to learn how to kill any creature, she won’t know the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy one. Plus once she learns to enjoy the kill her recall for me would be come unreliable and I would be concerned that she could end up chasing a rabbit across a road! by seeing the bigger picture I can avoid creating problems later on.

By viewing all dog behaviour through a magnifying glass many of the dog behaviours I am asked to help with never have the chance to develop!

Butter wouldn't melt!

A sad blog today, dear Jan lost her old lady Labrador last week. However long they are with us they always manage to go too soon!

Jan writes:

Amber 22nd March 1997 – 19th August 2011.



Amber was the only chocolate Labrador I have lived with and  I enjoyed and loved her very much!

I remember fondly going to Kings Lynn to choose a chocolate Labrador puppy and you were there with your brothers and sisters, running around the garden. You were the inquisitive one and very nosey and cheeky.My heart was taken straight away and I brought you home that day to meet Bonnie and Tess who both looked after you.

Amber was very faithful and loyal and I miss her dearly. She was a dog that you did not leave doors ajar as she would be off out on the street to have a roam but I always found you (luckily)

I Still have all my wonderful memories and photos of my first chocolate Labrador, but Susie, Lady and I miss you very much and now you are at rest after a wonderful life!

Wouldn’t it be great if our dogs could talk english, be the sort of characters that appear in the Disney films? 🙂 I know these stories influenced me as a child! I also remember the day I became disillusioned by my dog when I was about 20, it was a horrible shock to realise my dear little dog had not only killed but eaten one of my cats new-born kittens! That doesn’t happen in Disney films nor in the romantic world I had created for my pets. The experience did not stop me from idealizing my dogs completely, but now I have a more realistic view, shaped by even more life

Tallulah (Shar pei)

experience of reality.

The problem is not the Disney films, it is when we forget to remember that our dogs are real life animals.

When we leave  the dog to decide, yes they do that in Disney movies, and guess what, the dog makes the best decision ever! What happens in real life if we leave it to the dog to decide:

  • where and when we walk?
  • when we feed?
  • when we stroke?
  • where they sleep?

we make the dog leader! And what do we get when the dog is in charge?

I await your answers on that:)?

The reality is though that most dogs do not want to be leader, they may want to be a Prefect, even head girl or boy but few are born to be headmaster/mistress and they really do not want that job! which is why dogs that are given too many choices are not happy!

Disney dogs are happy, at least they are by the end of the film, and live happy ever after too!

In real life we must be clear and make the important decisions for our dogs, to ensure our dogs live happy ever after lives!

Seedy time of year!

June 16, 2011

With all the dry weather it feels like wild seed-time has come round faster than ever! Tracey and her dogs reminded me this week, as her 2 Grand Griffon Basset Vendeen, and yes this breed looks just like the one in the photo! Mungo and Milly have the type of coat that acts as a magnet to grass and other wild seeds, one quick shake of those long ears can rapidly catapult a seed deep into the ear canal! Resulting in a trip to the vet and anesthetic to remove the offending seed! So far Tracey has had 4 trips to the Vet in 4 weeks, a very expensive time of year! All this despite avoiding any off lead walks and avoiding as much long grass as possible. I think some dogs just have ears  that act as funnels for seeds!

As a result Tracey has found a way of fending off some seeds with some stylish head wear!

Do keep an eye on your pets and seeds a few tips are:

  • a quick brush following a walk to remove seeds before they find their way in deeper
  • if your breed needs clipping keep them very short this time of year
  • if your pet seems off colour or doesn’t seem keen on you touching his ear get them checked at the Vet, the ear canal is very deep and the lower part is not visible with the naked eye.
  • Seeds and thorns can work their way in between toes, causing sores or worse, so keep feet groomed and clipped.

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Scruffs, a Labradoodle who has featured on the blog before was  a year old this week, Happy birthday Scruffs! There was a birthday party at his breeders home to celebrate the day for the entire litter of 10 puppies!! Scruffs did take his family along with him and here is Phil’s account of the day 🙂

Back from our adventure in Devon to celebrate Scruffs’ birthday.  Thought you might be interested in a few pictures.  Fantastic seeing all his siblings and back with his mum one year on.   As is the way with crosses they all look at bit different but there were two other dogs that are virtually identical to him.   Without collars not sure I would have been able to tell the difference!

Aside from the fun and games it was one of those weekends where all the training seems worthwhile.   As you can imagine with 10 puppies and a few other dogs running around off lead for a few hours it was a bit chaotic to say the least but he was one of the better behaved ones (mind you they were all pretty thuggish!) and it was pretty clear who had put the time in training and who hadn’t.   As you know he has been a real bugger on his recall at times recently but he was amazing coming to call and sitting nicely even with the distraction of his siblings going nuts.   The attempt at a group photograph was particularly enjoyable.  Scruffs came to call and sat at heel very easily ready for the picture while there were plenty of people chasing their dogs all over the place trying to get them and then holding them to the spot for ten seconds for a picture.    There are enough times when it goes wrong so please forgive the brief gloat!    I would have given you a plug but they all live a bit far away!

Also enjoyed the time at the hotel which ended up letting dogs in the restaurant for dinner.   I feared that this could be quite a stressful meal with three other dogs in room but we put his lead under the chair leg and pretty soon calmed down and just stayed there quietly all through the meal.

Overall one of those days where all the little bits of training slot into place and make life with a dog quite enjoyable.  Of course the next day we were walking off lead in Exmoor and he spotted a pony, chased after it and wouldn’t come back but hey nobody is perfect J

See you Thursday, Phil