Update on Tilley’s elbow dysplasia

Shaven TilleyWe’ve been very busy keeping Tilley quiet since her operation so we haven’t had the time to do much blogging. We’re just glad that we don’t do the Christmas thing, because she needed constant attention to keep her quiet over the festive period. Here are extracts from The Tilley Diary which will give you a snapshot of what we’ve been up to since she had operations on both her front legs for elbow dysplasia.

The Tilley Diary: 19 December, 2013

Our Tilley had her elbow operations yesterday and all went well. She is now home and curled up in front of the fire covered in fleecy blankets as all the fur on her chest and front legs was shaved off. She’s very dopey and wobbly on her legs (but still tries to run!) but was pleased to see us and even offered a tail wag and a show of her belly.

Tilley bonesThe surgeon was pleased with how the operation went and there was more cartilage in each of the coronoid processes than he’d expected. The picture to the left, is of the bits the bits he took out of her elbows in one leg.

So, fingers crossed we will be able to keep her quiet enough over the next few months for a solid recovery. Luckily she loves her crate so that will be very helpful during this time. And I’ve been stocking up on things to stuff and freeze (Zooplus sent an extra free bag of chews, which is handy!), and reading up about new clicker training ideas. It’s going to be a struggle to keep her contained but we’ve tried to be well-prepared. Woolly just popped to Pets at Home to get a cone of shame (poor Tilley) as she’s chewing at her surgical sites.

The shaved parts of her chest have shown up many more little scars (we’re not sure from what – other dogs? cats? rabbits?) than we’d previously known about, which must have happened in her early life before we adopted her from the Dogs Trust.

Phew. I’m so glad the first big event is over. It’s wonderful to have her home.

The Tilley Diary: 20 December, 2013

Tilley had a good night although she’s developed a bit of a cough which the surgeon thinks is a post-anaesthetic irritation – we’re to see our local vet if it doesn’t settle down over the weekend. She was extremely cuddly when I checked on her a few times during the night, nestling her head into my arm and wriggling upside down for endless belly rubs. She is settling off and on in her crate with the odd outing for cuddles on her bed next to the crate or to sniff around the room or on-lead out in the back yard.

It is distressing when she won’t settle, though. If only we could tell them it was for their own good.

The Tilley Diary: 23 December, 2013

An update on our Tilley post-surgery. She’s doing pretty well – sleeping, eating, drinking, pottying and all the other vital stuff! She wobbles and hobbles about gingerly, and is extremely cuddly at the moment. I’ve put a few pots of herbs along the edge of the yard so she has something to sniff at on her potty outings!

We’ve never known her to be so in need of affection, strokes, belly rubs and tickles. Even when we’re in the process of stroking her she gently paws us and looks up at us, in what we call her “penguin pose”, for more rubs and cuddles.

Antler chews and frozen cow hooves stuffed with wet food have been a “dogsend” in keeping her entertained in her crate during any excitable moments. And the clicker training is also working wonders at getting her to accept being in her crate at unusual times.

Tilley in her crate with pinguShe is on Tramadol so this helps in keeping her calm. We have moved her crate into the living room and she seems to prefer lying on the memory foam mattress in there to her usual bed. She really loves her crate at the moment and will curl up in there with the door open – unheard of!

She licks at her stitches so we put a kiddies jumper on her from the charity shop as she looked so miserable in the “cone of shame”. We also got a Hotterdog jumper but can’t get it over her front legs.

Here she is with her new favourite toy, Pingu, and with her favourite cuddler.

The Tilley Diary: 28 December, 2013

Tilley cuddlesWe were doing really well at keeping Tilley quiet but these past couple of days she’s been very restless, pacing around when she’s out of her crate, doing the post-poo zoomies like I’ve never seen, and going bonkers when any food is produced. We have to keep her on the lead even when indoors to keep her under control. When she thinks she’s had enough time in her crate she tries to open the door – she’s almost worked out how! Her left foreleg is obviously giving her jip as she holds it up some of the time, though the local vet at her recent check-up said not to worry unless she was yelping in pain or not wanting to put weight on it.

We’re employing all our coping strategies! We’re here all the time and are doing sitting-still clicker games, the Overall relaxation protocol and other such training, plus she has potters out in the backyard to sniff about among the herbs, and the odd frozen stuffed kong or hoof to keep her busy. Phew. This is a challenge for us all.

The Tilley Diary: 2 January, 2014

Tilley posing on sofaOur adorable little mongrel had a check-up at the vet this morning. Everything looks fine with the surgery and she was really good while the vet took out her stitches, weighed her, checked her ears, gave her a manicure and referred her to physio and hydrotherapy.

Tilley is also happy to report that she has made significant progress in training her owners. She made a compelling case for being allowed on the sofas by settling beautifully each time she was invited up on them and her owners now seem unable to reverse the No Dog On Sofas rule.

Her cunning plan succeeded!

Editor’s note: I (Woolly) take no responsibility for this and have protested through the rightful channels. But my protest has been vetoed by the females in the house, so she is on my lap while watching telly this afternoon.

The Tilley Diary: 5 February, 2014

Tilley Black Dog HydroIt’s been a while since we wrote an update on Tilley as the truth is… she’s been keeping us VERY busy! She is doing pretty well. Keeping her quiet is the most incredible challenge. The poor pup just wants to run, and jump, and wiggle, and chase, and play… You get the picture. She saw the surgeon for a check-up a few weeks ago and he was happy with her progress. She can now do 2×20 minute walks per day, up from 2×10 minute. As you can imagine, when she does get out she is the happiest dog in the land.

She has started physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, which she adores. She was nervous about the water at first, but on the second attempt she was keen to get into the water and did about five laps! The place we go, Black Dog Hydrotherapy at Harrogate, is really excellent and the therapists spend a lot of time introducing the dogs to the water and making them completely comfortable.

The Tilley Diary: 12 February, 2014

Hurrah! Tilley has just been signed off by the surgeon after he reviewed her x-rays and we can start to build up her exercise. He’s very happy with how she’s doing and the bones are knitting together nicely. He even said we could start with letting her run free in a enclosed area; short runs at first. This we know she is definitely looking forward to, and we can’t wait to see her running rings around us (in not just a metaphorical way!). She’s been a little start at dealing with her ‘prison time’. Yes, she drove us made at times, but she developed a lot of patience in the end.

On a side note: all the car journeys we have done with Tilley to the vet, physio and hydrotherapist, have unfortunately not helped in changing her mind about the car. She absolutely detests it. We have tried two or three different drugs that should help with her car sickness and anxiety. Nothing has helped or stopped her whining, crying, drooling like the Niagara Falls and being sick almost every time she travels. We’ve had best results with not feeding her either food or medication for a good few hours before the trip, but she still whines with anxiety and nausea – we think the former has come from the latter. The return journey is always the best, since she is knackered from the ‘to’ journey and the vet/hydrotherapy visit, but still she is not happy and has to be lifted into the car as she won’t walk near it. It is distressing for all of us. We have a lot of desensitisation work on our hands if we’re to be able to drive her places happily!

The dark days of keeping her (and ourselves) cooped up will soon be behind us… roll on spring. We have lots of lovely moors and dales to show you, Tilley!

Review: Arden Grange Puppy Junior dog food

Arden Grange Puppy Junior dog foodWe adopted Tilley from the Dog’s Trust in September 2013 and got a free 2kg bag of Arden Grange Puppy/Junior (chicken and rice) as part of the welcome pack. As she’d already been fed this brand while being cared for by the Dog’s Trust, it made sense to continue using it. She clearly does well on this food: her coat is extremely shiny, her eyes bright and (forgive us for giving too much information here – dog owners will understand!) her “deposits” of a good consistency.

We did some research into Arden Grange Puppy Junior dog food – which we’d never heard of before getting Tilley – and realised that it is a high-quality brand, which scores a better-than-average 3.4 out of 5 on whichdogfood.co.uk. (It’s good to know that a lot of rescue dogs are benefiting from a high quality food while in kennels!) We also approve of the ethics of this family company, particularly that the food is made using traceable, sustainable food stocks, with support for local farmers and no GM ingredients.

2013-10-06--10.09.41_IMG_0434It’s not the cheapest food available, but we think it is worth the extra cash. We pay £34.90 for 12kg (a discounted rate) from www.zooplus.co.uk/ which works out at about 60-80 pence per day.

For the first two months of her time with us, Tilley adored her Arden Grange kibble. It’s small-sized and she clearly found it very palatable. We’d feed her twice a day in toys such as the Kong Wobbler and milk bottles with holes cut out, and she had great fun at mealtimes. Feeding her in toys was a great way of putting her collie-cross mind to work, and tiring her out! She found the kibble so appealing and tasty that we were even able to use it on the odd occasion as a training treat when out and about.

Recently, however, she started to turn her nose up at kibble at mealtimes. She wouldn’t touch it dry, so we started moistening it with a little warm water, and feeding small portions, rather than serving it in toys. We decided to contact Arden Grange’s nutritional adviser, Ness Bird, for advice on two issues: Tilley going off her kibble, and her tendency to hyperactivity.

We were very impressed with Ness Bird’s response: personalised, friendly and comprehensive. She firstly provided an interesting fact sheet which dispels the commonly-held belief that high-protein food leads to hyperactivity. And she reassured us that it’s not unusual for adolescent dogs to go off their food when their growth rate slows down, and she gave us a number of ways to approach this, which may also help with Tilley’s high energy levels.

2013-09-08--12.02.34_IMG_7301We’re to review Tilley’s feeding amounts, including treats and extras – it seems that we were feeding too much; moisten her kibble with water or a tiny taste of dissolved Marmite if she isn’t keen on it; and consider feeding an adult variety with a different meat source. Ness offered to send us samples of a couple of adult food varieties, plus a liver training treat, and also gave us a couple of recipes for healthy treats to make at home: liver cake and fish cake.

Tilley has since wolfed down her smaller portions of kibble, moistened with a little warm water, and is certainly thriving on the food. She gets many compliments from people we meet on her shiny, soft and silky coat (especially from small children, who she loves to lick!). And our vet agreed that she is in really great condition.

Thank you, Ness and Arden Grange. We will follow your advice carefully. Tilley looks forward to receiving the free samples and in the meantime, we’ll get creative with the treat recipes and continue her training!

Tilley training: a very accidental experience of harsh training methods.

First day at dog trainingA couple of updates to this post:

We’ve since heard from local people about several other incidents of harsh methods being used by this club, including a puppy being ‘pinned down’ during a class. Also, Peli reminded me that another attendee sitting next to her while Tilley was being subjected to the ‘corrections’ told her not to worry, that she regularly used the rattle bottle on her dog when he barked, and that now he’s really wary of the bottle – which the attendee said with a laugh.

Also, very sadly, we noticed this evening that Tilley freaked out when Peli swatted a mosquito with a tea towel. The sharp downwards ‘swat’ movement clearly reminded her of the rattle bottle and she shied away and needed much reassurance. Later, a rattle from her kibble in the plastic measuring cup also made her jolt. Needless to say, we now feel even more sad and angry and determined to follow this up.

End Update:

We tried to clue ourselves up as much as possible about how to train our dog, including reading blogs, forums and books, watching YouTube, DVDs and TV, there is only so much you can do by yourself. We needed to go to dog training classes at least to confirm that we were on the right track and also to socialise Tilley. She is a bit of a handful out on the lead when she meets other dogs, people or when the wind blows a leaf across our path.

At home without any distractions we have managed to get her nice and calmly out the door and out walking on a loose lead. But as soon as she sees anything new she is all over the place, so we haven’t managed to walk far from our front door. We have tried at least four anti-pull harnesses, which she has learnt to pull against. She goes into her “meerkat” impression when she very keen to get further than her lead. Along with the stopping trick or the turning around tricks when she pulls, we still haven’t gotten far, because when we get away from the back street it is a whole new and exciting world. Her best time to walk is her last walk of the day until we come across a person or a dog.

We have been using what is called “positive reinforcement” training, used by the likes of Victoria Stilwell, and yes we may have been a bit soft on the commands. But when she is concentrating she does her sit, stay and ah-ah – stop doing naughty things – even when said with a soft voice. Having guests over she is good as gold with a little bit of jumping up, but if our guest turns around and ignores Tilley she soon figures out that jumping is a no go, and sits neatly.

We were hoping that by getting her to doggy school, she could meet other people and dogs and hopefully would calm down and get used to new things without going bonkers.

I took her to the first class at Embsay Dog Training Club and she was a right old nightmare, didn’t know what to do with herself. She couldn’t contain herself and with 15 people and nine other dogs it was quite a lot to process in one go. Even with her favourite treat, liver cake, I couldn’t turn her head, and if I did there was just something new to explore.

I went away know that we had to be a bit more sterner with Tilley, but that is hard to be when she is as good as gold at home. The good news was that the day after her first day at school she slept more that usual. We just thought, “Oh, it’s her first time at a training class, and the trainers say they’re happy for a very reactive dog to attend, so I suppose it will get better.”

During that first class the trainers didn’t do anything to cause us concern about their methods, so we decided to return the following week.

On Tilley’s “second day at school” we had Peli as back-up, I clearly needed an extra hand to try to control her. Tilley was as crazy as the first time: all over the place and this time was called in before the previous class had left the hall. There were about nine other dogs in our class and about 15-17 people in the hall: quite a prospect for a keen, reactive pup.

While feeding her treats and telling her off with a sterner “shhhh” than before she calmed down enough to sit/lie down and watch the other dogs, as long as they stayed still too. As soon as they moved Tilley became anxious, whining, wiggling and panting.

We got called up to try the “walk out of the door” exercise, which we have almost perfected at home. While walking down the middle of the classroom Tilley completely lost it, throwing herself about and running like a crazy thing with her paws scratching and sliding across the floorboards. Coming back into the classroom she reacted to all the dogs and people again and went bonkers.

While I’d been up with Tilley, another trainer asked Peli, “Do you use any corrections on her?”. Peli replied that we’d tried different harnesses, but wasn’t sure what she meant by corrections? That trainer then spoke to another, who went into a back room and returned with a bottle with something in it. I had no idea what was going to happen next.

As I was trying to return Tilley to our seat, one of the three trainers came towards us and Tilley was keen to meet this new and exciting person. But the trainer, with no warning to me, then shook a plastic bottle full of dried chickpeas right next Tilley’s head with a loud “Bang”. It was such a loud noise that it shocked me, and I’m a big 6’4″ bloke. Even Peli across the classroom was shocked. I’d thought the trainer was going to take the lead from me, or show me how to hold it. I was totally unprepared.

So, you can imagine how Tilley reacted. She was to be found way behind me at the end of the lead with her tail between her legs, ears right back, hugging the ground while shaking in clear panic. The trainer told me to call her to me and praise her when she came to me. She gained some confidence and came to me, but tentatively, and not really sure what was going on. Heck, neither did I! Just as we had calmed down, a different dog trainer came up and Tilley – clearly still scared, but getting over it – walked very keenly towards the trainer to say hi, and got yet another loud bottle shake next to her head.

Tilley was now shaking badly, very freaked out and looking, panicked, around the classroom trying to figure out what was going on and where the next bang might come from. I’m talking about a very scared dog here, tail between legs, ears right back, curled up on the floor shaking and she wouldn’t even come to me. The more I called the more she backed away, even treats didn’t get her to move. She was so frightened she ended up wetting herself right there on the floor and onto herself.

The other dogs in the class didn’t look too happy at these huge noises either, or seeing a stressed-out dog wetting itself on the floor.

This is where I should have walked right out of the door, but both Peli and I were so shocked, we didn’t know how to react.

In the end, as Tilley refused to move towards any of us, the first trainer said, “This will unlock her” and put a trail of treats across the floor to bring her back to us. She very, very tentatively followed the food, but she was clearly traumatised. For the rest of the session she was hiding under my legs, clearly unhappy and wary of everyone.

But the corrective advice didn’t stop there: we were then told we should jab her with a finger on her hindquarters to get her into line when she got too giddy, and the trainers gave detailed directions about how to do this, and where exactly to jab her.

I’m not really sure about this method of training – corrective, or dominance-based, or alpha? I’m not sure how to label it but we’ve seen Cesar Millan using something similar on his programmes. It might work on an aggressive and really troublesome dog, but not on this sweet-natured, reactive, unsocialised pup who is keen on meeting new friends, overwhelmed by a room full of new people and dogs and – significantly, as a rescue dog, with an unknown background.

We finally got her home and digested the doggy class. We were confused and not able to process what we’d experienced. As very new dog owners (the last time I owned a pup was many years ago) the thought did cross our mind: is this the way dogs really should be trained?

But the next morning made it clear to us that it certainly isn’t. Tilley was not herself at all – very anxious, not sure what was going on, not our usual bright and sparky Tilley. Peli reported that she had been walking around with her tail between her legs, lacking her normal spring, head down and had been looking for me more than normal. She has always reminded Peli when it was her dinner time at four, but on that day at that time she just laid on Peli’s lap, looking sad. When fed with her Kong and toys she definitely wasn’t her playful self and it was a very subdued mealtime. And she even peed inside, even after she had just been taken outside to go potty.

I arrived home from work and she was happy to see me but lacked the same spring as normal. When coming up to her she always turns over to show her belly with an wagging tail. But tonight it was done in a much slower speed with a much less wagging tail and not with the same look. Looking at us with her head turned and out the corners of her eyes, not direct eye contact as before.

The way she looked at us was with much less joy, trust and a face that said “I’m not really sure if you are just going to pat me or make a big nasty noise”.

I’m all for a firm hand on some dog breeds and if the dog has behaviour problems but not scaring the bejeesus out of them so that their personality changes. And certainly not without clearly explaining and confirming with the dog owner before the change of training method.

It is clear to us that:
1. That training group should not accept highly-reactive dogs into a busy class. It’s not fair on anyone: the dog itself or the other class attendees. It should have been clear that our dog was not suited to classes, and this should have been pointed out to us.
2. If they plan to use such corrections, then the owners (and other class members) are warned and – importantly – have agreed in advance.
3. That they make clear when advertising their courses that they promote the use of such techniques.

Let’s just say that we are not going back to these dog training classes again, and we’ll be contacting our vet (who recommended them) to let them know about our experience.

Mischief

Over the last few days Tilley has changed a fair bit, grown a bit and become right young mischief.

She have now discovered shoes, which she ignored before, they will now be grabbed when we are not in the same room as her.

Food on the table tops aren’t safe any more as she has found out that she is actually tall enough to reach. This resulted in her getting covered in Saturday curry take way, which gave her the nickname Korma for rest of the day. She also managed to grab some bread we where using to make sandwiches with, along with leftovers that would have been my lunch but went into her belly instead. Last night she was out cold sleeping next to me on the floor, didn’t move when I got up to go upstairs. Never paid any interest in my plate of food, full or empty, just laid there and slept. I had barley gone upstairs before Peli heard and saw, from the kitchen, her licking the plate with a very wagging tail. She was just waiting for that moment when our backs are turned.

Her play has also become more active and longer, nothing hard and she still knows the different between a toy and my fingers.

She has stared to whine and growl when left in the crate and we are about in the house.

That said, she is not scared of the hoover, the microwave or the washing machine even with it being right next to her crate. She is getting very good on lead, at start it was only the evening walk that we had some success. Now most walks are done without pulling though we have to stick to the same roads or else the world becomes a wee bit too exciting.

She is also becomes scared and don’t know what to do with herself and comes to us for reassurance when another dog has barked or growled at her.

Yesterday while out walking she learnt the hard way that some flying buzzing things do bite back. She had tried to catch and eat some wasps but not matter how much Peli pulled her away she got too close. Which resulted in her rolling around in pain, licking her left leg and not keen on walking home. She was clearly in discomfort and looked very sorry for herself, but there was still some interest in cheese so we knew that we didn’t have to take her to the vet. She spend most of the afternoon sleeping and when I got home she is normally keen on meeting me, but I got a rather subdued greeting. Well I’m pretty sure that she will keep her distance in the future 🙂

Well since I wrote the above – she went strait back to where the incident happened without a blink and she also managed to
get hold of the butter and had a good 200g of it.

First bath and working day

Tilley was smelling rather like the bad end of a smelly thing, the second time we saw her she had poo stuck in her fur. We had planned to leave her smelly for a few days to keep the trauma to a minimum. But since she was so relaxed and not really bothered with what we did to her we decided to something with her smell.

Armed with treats and shampoo we went to the bathroom, first letting her smell the place and figure out what was in there. Then we lifted her in to the tub and ran the water at first she was happy with the water and shampoo. We could keep her in the tub with treats and praise but she was getting rather keen on getting out. So it was a quick wash and therefore very few photos of the bath time. A big towel was thrown over her before she did her shake and then we ruffled her down which she looked like she enjoyed. Her fur was so much better looking and she smelled so much better, still a bit of kennel smell, which we will get next time.

Peli has been dead keen on getting the training going, so when I get home from work Tilley is rather tired so my greeting is rather less jumpy compared to when we first met her at the Dog’s Trust. The sit is coming along fine, every time we lift our hands up and look like we are holding food in them her bum hits the ground. Though getting her attention is proving a bit hard, so Peli has been working hard in the kitchen and yarden on walking on the lead and sit and even down.

The new party trick was a trick my grandmother used to play on me. She would let some water run and off my bladder went, as it still does to this day, a certain noise that water can make when running makes me hunt for a place for nature to do its call.

Peli found that using the watering can and let it run on the stone flags in the back garden, works just the same on Tilley, handy if we need her to take a leak before bedtime.

I came home to hugs and Peli tells me that she had been looking for me around the house. We can touch any part of her body while she eats out of our hands very gently. She rolls over for belly rubs and loves to sleep in my lap and I can play with her teeth, ears and paws. She goes and lays down in her crate by herself.

Day one in the doggy house …

… and Tilley is settling in or is that we are settling in.

She came home and was pretty settled in and was calm, some odd jumping around mostly to see what is going on and to smell all corners.

Things we have noticed:

-She: when sniffing something next to a wall, likes to lean against it, looks comical.
-She: does know what dogs sound like on the telly.
-She: is obsessed with reflective things, went a wee bit nuts when she saw herself in the fireplace’s shiny brass and marble.
-She: just comes and dumps herself on you if you are sitting on the floor and she wants to be cuddled.
-She: is now going into her crate by herself and lays there.
-She: found the corner in the “yarden” where we are sure the previous dog went potty.
-She: found that the stone slab in front of the fire is the most comfortable place to play with her Kong.
-She: when hearing babies cry is not sure what that noise is and does a little bark.
-She: when hearing the alley cats having a fight, did bark, though a quick distraction stopped that.
-She: eats from our hands ever so gently.
-She: sits or lays next to us when we are eating, doesn’t try to take the food off the plate at all, no begging.

We have only had two leaks in the house, which is understandable since the house probably still smells from the last owner’s dog and she had a long stressful day. First one we didn’t see and the second she did so fast that we didn’t had the time to do anything.

Last night we did her evening walk, where she barked – almost the very first time that she bark – at me for standing in the dark and making noises, and set the alarm for six hours later. Only one little whimper from her as we went upstairs and got ready for bed. At 5am we got up to find her looking very tired and slow and went to take her out for a five minute walk where she had a looooong leak. Got home, put her to bed (from now on “Go dodo”), she had a little whimper as we walked upstairs to have few more hours of sleep.

When we got down for a real morning walk she was really full of beans and ready to go. Before we got ready she leaked and made a deposit in the yarden. The morning was spent mostly at the end of the lead since she was very awake and we weren’t. We met one other dog which she did bark and growl at, mostly I think because she wanted to play and couldn’t.

We left her alone today for the first time and left the house to get more treats and toys along with doggy shampoo. There was not a whimper as we left or when we came home 30 minutes later. We let her stay in the crate for a few minutes while we unpacked and then let her out without too much hoo-ha. Though she put her mark on the matter by leaking in the front room, we should have taken her out into the back yarden, just in case – so bad humans.

The only thing we have found wrong with her – she doesn’t like pigs ears! (Discerning pup.)

Meet Tilley

Today we picked up Scrappy, from now on known as Tilley, from Darlington Dog’s Trust. We had a 45 minute talk about us what to expect and what support we can get from the Dogs Trust and then filled out a few forms. We were pleased to get four weeks’ free insurance from the trust, as well as a welcome pack of food, a harness and lead, a subscription to Pet24, and all Tilley’s veterinary information. All this for a donation of £80. It is such a good way to welcome a dog into the family.

Tilley was all over the place at the end of the lead, this way then that way. One of the staff from the trust gave her a bone and she jumped right into the car and crate happily. We had a hour and a half journey back, but we heard nothing from her, not even when she puked in the car. Poor thing was a bit car sick, clearly. A quick stop to clean the crate and a little more talking into the car we were off. She was rather quiet after that and fell fast asleep.

Arrived home and she was rather happy to get out of the car, a whole new world for her and tons of new exciting smells. We closed the downstairs up so that she had a free run of the kitchen and the yarden (garden + yard, see what we did there…). Nothing major, just the nose everywhere, that corner to this corner.

After 20 minutes we sat down for some dinner (lunch for you lot from down south) and she just looked at us eating our food. After a minute or so of that she laid down and enjoyed the sun, though with a keen ear, nose and eye on what we were doing.

No barking and very gentle jumping, we just have to get used to having this trip hazard around our legs as we are moving around the house. She will need a bath but that will be tomorrow, because she does have that kennel smell. Welcome home, Tilley! I’m sure we’re all going to have lots of adventures together.

Potential dangerous dogs what to do?

rspcaI have been brought up by a packs of dogs erm I have had dogs around me all my childhood: my folks, grandparents and friends have always had dogs around them. My uncle has trained police, security and guide dogs and is still one of the most known people in Denmark when it comes to dog training and keeping.

I think from what I have learned over the years from having dogs and from what I have learned speaking to my uncle and see him training, I have a pretty good understanding of how to keep a dog.

I know the sound of a dog having a good old laugh playing with its new toy or mate and I know the sound of a dog when it is about to rip your arm off.

Some of you might have seen our neighbour’s dog, a Staffordshire bull terrier. It has some play mates: two other bigger Staffs.

I have seen the owners of these dogs hitting them when the dogs didn’t walk to heel etc. The way the dogs are are walking around, either on the lead or off, you can see that the way they have been “trained” is with a heavy hand, tail between the legs, ears back and head kept low. The owners just keep shouting and swearing (not that it matters to the dog) at the dogs to get them to come back.

Today they have been running around in the garden and some of the play fights have turned rather nasty. And we then had the kids running around playing along, running about between them. And it is not just one day this is happening, quite often I have heard these fights going on in the garden and seen them.

But, by the sound today, we are just one little step away one of them biting one of the kids. In early spring two of them were playing with a ball with one of the kids. It got a bit rough and I heard the kid cry out in alarm when the two dogs was snapping at each other.

So the main question is: where can we report this? Is there a way to put this on record? As if the worst happens and one kid is missing an arm one afternoon, I would like it that there was a history of what has gone on to prove that they are not fit to keep dogs. Though they do look well fed and kept, if you look away from the hitting.

Update : I have talked to others and they say that I should record this and send to http://www.rspca.org.uk/

Training your dog

zitta my dogI have had a fair amount of dogs. Even though I haven’t been old enough to be the main trainer, I have learned a lot about it. What will mess up a dogs head is that one person says that it can be in the bed for example and an other person says it can’t. Though what is worst, if you change your mind everyday, that will truly confuse the dog.

So, some simple rules and stick to them, is the way to go.

It has been around 20 years since I have been the “master/owner”* of a dog, so I’m probably rather rusty.

The families I see around here with dogs clearly haven’t done any discipline or training. I have even seen them hitting their dogs**. Every day I see them walking their dog in a 45° angle, trying not to fall over as the dog is pulling the lead that hard. Or them shouting at the top of their lungs in a vain attempt to gain control of their K9.

I for sure will take up some training when we get our woofy. As there surely will be some helpful hints told at the sessions. Like when you can expect the dog to learn certain things, the best ways to discipline etc. For me it is a better way to learn as I can’t learn from a book. And its a great way to meet other dogs and owners.

And after I have trained our woofy I will would love to walk our dog through this area we live. Just to show them how it is done, walking your dog on heel. Maybe even without a lead as my uncle is very known to do with his dogs, but then again he is a professional dog trainer.

*) though we now have to use companion animals according to this.

**) now that is an other post in it self.