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!

Puppies at five weeks!

October 5, 2012

Puppies at five weeks!

Are they even more gorgeous? They are 6 weeks old today, and every day sees them going further afield, yesterday was their first time going to the toilet outside. It takes a few outings for a litter to feel safe enough to toilet away from the nest, clever Mother Nature protects the young by inhibiting toileting on new ground before the ground is familiar to them. This is the reason, when dog owners first take puppies home, they won’t go to the toilet on walks to begin with, this behaviour is designed to keep the young safe from predators. But it is just the reason I want to get the puppies outside as soon as possible to get them used to going outdoors and speed up their house training.

Next Monday  I will start their training, sits downs and little recalls, regular grooming and a  car ride, the more normal this stuff becomes the easier they will be in their new homes! Not all sold yet!

Thank you to Jo at Jobo design for the great photo’s!

Puppies 3 weeks old today!

September 14, 2012

Gorgeous!

Betty looking glamorous pre puppies!

What a difference a week makes in a litter of puppies! They are now coming out of the box, all eyes are wide open, as are their ears, they respond to sounds now! yesterday was their first time with solid food, I had to shut Betty away from them for two hours to make sure they were a bit hungry, they are so fat I think I should have gone for 4 hours! I gave them some high quality tinned puppy food and they all tucked in a bit, some more than others! It isn’t a pretty sight, lying in the  food seems  as good as eating it, licking it off another puppy is as good as eating from the bowl!

This morning they were so  charming, I went into them and said “hello” and I they greeted me with beeping noises, wagging tails and a scramble toward me, I was soon down on my hands and knees putting my face to them for morning kisses! So gorgeous!

Puppies aged 3 weeks!

Betty and puppy’s

September 10, 2012

Puppies aged 2 weeks

How cute are they now? Amazing the difference 2 weeks makes, as the day progressed the puppies eyes gradually opened and they could definitely start to hear! By next week I won’t be able to keep them in the whelping box they will be escaping!

Betty loves them and is making sure they are the fattest of puppies.

I start to advertise them this week so if you know of anyone who deserves a really well reared puppy? …..

Betty in her favourite chew chair! See the whiskers?

Betty is 4 months old now, I don’t remember how many weeks she is any more so time to promote her to months old rather than weeks 🙂

I do love having a puppy in the house, there is one thing I don’t love about having a puppy, it is the mess they make! I am not a lover of house work, but I do like the house to be clean and tidy, a bit of a conflict for me :)! Betty is now at the age and height when she can reach the table, which means that when I leave things out she gets them off and chews them up, mostly magazines and paper, not a big problem, but when I have just cleaned up and 5 minutes later I have to clear it all up again:(, plus she brings in twigs and plants and scatters them on the floor! It drives me nuts!! I foolishly left my paper diary on the table (my back up to my electronic diary) and she ate most of August and September! I know I will learn to put my stuff out of reach!

What irritates you most about puppies?

Other than this issue I do love her, she is so funny, her sense of humour is infectious! She seems to be permanently laughing at me or life or both! I only have to look at her little hairy face and she makes me smile! If I look at her for more than a few seconds she starts trying out her tricks in case I want more, throwing herself to the ground or bringing me a toy or flying to my side to show off her new going to heel trick, how sweet is that? !

With the change in the weather the back door is shut more often and I have been good in checking if she needs the toilet, she has been brilliant and apart from one occasion when she bopped to wee in front of me and immediately realised I was not smiling any more, she ran outside to finish, she is a good girl really!

Comment from Teresa!

July 8, 2010

Hi Avril,

I just had to let you know how much I have been enjoying the progress of Betty, she is adorable, the daily updates you are giving are brilliant, if I did at sometime in the future be fortunate enough to have a puppy I would feel much more prepared and able to cope from some of the knowledge you have given.

These daily blog’s have made compelling reading and I am alway’s looking in my inbox for the next one to come in, it’s almost like reading a very good book and not being able to put it down so thank you Avril.

I have tried to submit a comment but I keep getting a response which says YOU DID NOT SUCCEED PLEASE TRY AGAIN WITH A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS despite using my email address which is valid, I have to say I am not very good when it comes to IT so it could me doing something silly.

Thanks once again for all the Blog’s keep them coming Avril and well done With best regards Teresa

Thank you for your kind comments Teresa, it is great to get feedback, it encourages me:) I am not sure why you can’t post, but you are not the first one to say this, anyone else having problems? I will get on to WordPress and see if I can find out why and get back to you! I do know that commenting direct from the mail isn’t working, can you try logging on the site and trying again Teresa?

Betty learning to sit

and down

High five!

Betty watching me!

Well this blog is really an exciting one for me to write, I am so excited by Betty and her training at just 11 weeks old!!!! As you won’t be able to guess what she did before I finish writing 🙂 I will just have to tell you :).

Betty went “down” on a word command only when she was 10 feet from me!!! yes she did! If you are not as amazed as me I want to know how come you are so clever:) ? And I will come to you for training!

It was just last Wednesday that she went down in front of me for the first time without my usual hand signal, and I think it only took that long because I have been teaching her sit, down and high-five! Normally I stick to 2 positions until a puppy gets them before introducing more, so she was slower than my other puppies have been to go down without a signal close by, but I think it has paid off! I obviously still have a lot to learn about dog training!

I haven’t ever asked a puppy of this age to go down at a distance from me before but 2 things happened earlier in the day that told me that Betty was cleverer than I was letting her be!

firstly the stuff we were doing in the kitchen and garden were so easy for her, I see it as easy for a puppy when they do the exercise really fast, and she was jet propelled!

But secondly it was when I was play retrieving with her in the garden. We had got into the habit when I threw a toy of her coming and lying behind me when I was sat on the grass, today I thought that is weird how I have let her do that, but like every dog owner I want success for her and I had continued to accept this as good enough, mmmm I thought, she is a Collie and I know her training genes, and she is well-bred for training, I wonder?  The next time she laid behind me with the toy, I didn’t look round, I stayed looking forward and said, daftly I know:) “Where’s Betty, oh Betty puppy, Betty Boop” and she came to the front of me! Well that was it now I knew she was being a Collie!!!! Collies will always try to control the game, herd the person and toy together, and that is what she was doing, albeit in a small way, she was turning me, just as Collies turn sheep! So no more turning from me, I threw the toy a couple more times, both times she went behind and both times I said “where’s Betty” and she came back round even faster, the third time I threw the toy she came straight to me in front! What is great is that not only have I made a big step in her retrieve I know more about Betty now too a lot more!

I must add when I say throwing the toy, I do only throw the toy a few feet from us, it is hot and she is young, I don’t want her exhausted:)

Anyway that is why I was thinking I have to push this little girl a bit more, not in a pressured way but simply ask and see what happens, I did just that. Which is why we came to be walking around the paddock, me with Betty’s dinner in my pocket and having done a few of the normal sits and downs and comes and high fives all as we walked around the paddock, I waited for her to wander away from me a little and said “Betty down” and she did, so having given her 5 bits of food in my excitement:) I continued to wait for her to go a bit further and try again! And, as I said before, she did it!!

No holding us back now, I am going to have to rack my brains for this little one to see what more we can do, while of course keeping these bits going!! 🙂

I must add too that since that first time Betty went down without the hand signal I sense her listening to me more, I could a bit before, but it is like now she has one word she wants to understand more! She is certainly responding appropriately when I say things like “where is it” when playing and similar. She may not know the words completely yet, but she is trying too and the best dog to train is the willing one:)!

I look forward to hearing about the words and signals your dogs understand and/or how they have surprised you:)?

For first time dog owners the world can seem a dangerous place for their precious puppies! But I have to tell you puppies have remarkable constitutions, this is a born scavenger and nature equipped them with a stomach that can withstand most natural materials and decomposed matter!

If you allow your human squeamishness to interrupt your puppy eating rubbish every time, and this will be frequent while the puppy is young, you will be giving out this message: I want what you have, it is something I am interested in and I am competing with you to have “it” first! Young dogs learn from older dogs in the pack what is valuable in this world, if the other dogs are interested then it must be good! You or the humans in the puppy’s life play this part in a human home.

If you don’t want your puppy to keep showing interest in stuff then you must not either! If you are too disgusted use some tasty food to distract your puppy from the thing, do not let your puppy see you remove “it” or you will be back to encouraging again. By using something tasty to distract you will be actively demonstrating that there is something better to eat as well as demonstrating your lack of interest which over time will teach your puppy not to go for inappropriate things to eat.

Stones are one of the commonest problem that I come across especially in new dog owners, though some more experienced owners do make the same mistake. The reality is that puppies will pass small stones easily, and they are bound to consume a few in discovering that stones are not food, by distracting the puppy over and over with a tasty tit bit you will soon persuade them to leave stones alone! If not this problem can soon escalate to eating larger and larger stones that could block the bowel and endanger your pets life or incur large vet bills.

The other downside of not addressing this issue is that the puppy can become possessive over something as simple as tissue if you constantly remove them from her.

here is a list of stuff that puppies can and should be allowed to explore that are harmless and will if ignored soon be forgotten:

  • Tissue, including kitchen roll, toilet paper
  • Paper in any form
  • Cardboard
  • Wood pieces (do not throw or play with sticks)
  • Tea towels (leave old ones lying around until they get bored or old bits of cloth)
  • Ash, bits of coal
  • animal excrement!

Dogs will take food that is left out, if I leave my kitchen with food on the side I don’t expect it to be there when I return! It is the nature of the dog to scavenge, and fighting this natural behaviour will just give you a headache and spoil your relationship with your dog.

If your dog is already possessive about any or all of these items please contact me, this is curable!

What to look for if you think your puppy has eaten something dangerous

  • Lethargy
  • Sickness
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

call your Vet immediately!

As dog owners I believe we all have a responsibility to help members of the public that are afraid of dogs, not by pushing our dogs at them, but by demonstrating the dog is under control and therefor no threat!

Never dismiss anyone’s fear of dogs, it is real and respect of another’s feelings is the first step to helping them get passed their fear.

I was out with one of my dogs one day near the beach, I stood by the car changing my boots, my dog Teddy, was running round nearby, when someone walked into the car park, Teddy was near the entrance and though not taking any notice of the person was obviously to close for comfort for this person, I saw the  scared look and the person freeze, my first instinct was to call out “it’s okay he won’t hurt you” but immediately realised that was irrelevant for this person and instead shouted “down” to Teddy, who hit the deck immediately and I called him to me, once I had him with me I apologised for the scare they had had, and put Teddy on the lead to further reassure them that they were safe.

I knew they were safe with Teddy on or off the lead, but this person did not, I could see the surprise on the persons face and the relaxed look that soon replaced the scared look. Teddy and I did more in that moment he obeyed me than any verbal reassurance from me could ever have done!

Arabella's puppy now doing well in the show ring!

Arabella's puppy now doing well in the show ring!

Dogs are pack animals, which is why they live so well with us in our family units, which to them equates to the ‘pack’.  The most successful packs in the wild are those where there are clear rules, boundaries and constraints; every dog knows its job and what it can and can’t do.  Their survival depends upon clear rules and consistency. This in itself offers the dog a sense of security.

To give a dog the best possible start within our ‘pack’, we too need to clearly outline and instigate rules and boundaries.  Without these, our dog begins to display unwanted behaviours such as play-biting, jumping up uninvited, stealing and behaving like a real ‘wild child’!  Often we try to fix the actual problem but the underlying causes remain the same and the behaviour never really disappears.

Here is my list of suggested rules, which would remain in place until the dog is at least 2 years old:

  • Restricting the dog’s area when he or she is left alone
  • Not allowing the dog on furniture
  • Ensuring the dog moves out of our way when required – not us stepping over the dog or around it
  • No one is to play rough or ‘fighting’ games with the dog
  • Do not allow the dog to play fight/play bite with other dogs living in the household
  • No ‘tug of war’ games with the dog
  • No jumping up uninvited
  • No feeding the dog from the table or plates
  • All food and titbits should be ‘worked’ for, for example asking the dog to Sit for his dinner or titbit
  • Not constantly responding to the dog’s demands for attention – they do not require constant entertainment
  • When returning to the dog, ignoring him or her for at least 5 minutes before greeting (displays leadership skills and reduces over-excitement at your return)

Without rules and boundaries, your success in training your dog will be limited and you will not experience the true joy of a well-adjusted, well-mannered dog, which you can be justifiably proud.

If you experience problems in successfully instigating your rules or do not understand why any of the above are suggested, please contact me.