A dog or a rabbit

Today I am going to tell you a story about Mity. I am very aware that he doesn’t feature on this blog as much as BD does and that is for two reasons. The first is I see him less, since I now live by myself I only see him when I am seeing my folks and b. because compared to BD he is pretty prefect. Other than his health issues he just loves everyone and everything, and although he is getting a little more demanding in his old age – he has his routine, and if you deviate from this, boy does he let you know  – he is generally pretty perfect.

However, this story was just too good not to share.

Mity is obsessed with carrots. Bring in the shopping and put it on the floor, he is there sniffing out the carrots. Put the shopping on the work top, so that he can’t help himself and if he can smell the carrots he will stand and bark at the bag until we give in and he has a little bit – and by give in we are talking 10 minutes of constant barking, not he barks and we give in.

He has been known to let himself into my grandparents spare bedroom, open their cupboard and retrieve the bunch of carrots which they had stored in the bottom (I don’t know why). Now every time we go to visit them he spends the entire visit trying to make it back into that cupboard.

He smells a carrot and he wants it. So much so that we now actively hide carrots from him. They are smuggled into the house and put away while he is distracted with a toy, or a game.

However, this last weekend Mity and my folks came to stay at my house. it was a nice day so we decided to walk into the local village to get some groceries – including carrots. My dad headed by to my house, with the groceries and Mity while my mum and I headed into one final shop.

Half way home my dad realised Mity wasn’t lagging behind as usual, and was in fact trotting along nicely next to him – Mity does not do this. There is always a sniff, or a smell, something to be peed on…

So my dad looks down to check on him.

Mity is trotting along beside him, and in his mouth he has the canvas bag with the groceries in it. Somehow he has managed to find the carrot in the groceries while walking along and he was as proud as punch trotting down the road with the carrot (still inside the canvas bag) clasped firmly between his teeth.

Dog or rabbit you decide!
Dog or rabbit you decide!
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He’s not friendly.

On this mornings walk I ended up screaming “he’s not friendly” at two different dog walkers. In both incidents it was their dog who had decided to cross the field, and leave their owner to come and say hi to BD. BD was quite happily ignoring them and to be honest the only thing on his mind was “throw my ball, throw my ball, throw my ball.”

It was after the first ‘incident’ that I realised I was doing BD a massive disservice by screaming this about him… in the style of a loon… at other dog walkers. He isn’t ‘not friendly’; he’s cuddly and caring, he has a killer smile, brilliant personality, goes out of his way to cheer me up (now I see why people chose dogs over men) and greats me like he hasn’t seen me in years every time I see him. He would beat Mity in a friendly dog test by a mile, with both paws tied behind his back.

In fact the only time he isn’t friendly is when an off lead dogs come running at him, gets in his face and refuses to pick up on his “leave me the heck alone” signals. Then he gets scared and reacts; and the key would is he gets scared. If he can walk around the dog and get away then ‘touch wood’ he does not react. It is only when he feels trapped that he lashes out. Is it ok that he lashes out – No! But is it fully his fault…?

I feel like I am doing BD a massive disservice every time “He’s not friendly” leaves my lips. But what do I say instead, as awful as it sounds nothing else I can think of causes the ‘panic’ in the other owner quite in the same way. If I shout any other warning I generally get back “but mines ok” and that just doesn’t cut the mustard. Do I care if your dog is friendly? Not really. I care that your friendly dog is going to scare my timid dog and as a result his training is set back months. My nerves are put a little more on edge and we take a few more steps back, slowly inching forwards until another ‘friendly’ dog, another incident.

I know what it’s like having an overly friendly dog. If we ever took Mity onto a field he would scope it out to find out who he could say hello to, and he has covered lengths of fields trying to get to another dog to play. I know it is hard work. I know that despite months of training some dogs will just say hello.  We were very fortunate that on only a handful of occasions did this ‘greeting’ turn out badly. Generally Mity would drop to the floor a few meters from the other dog and always rolled over as soon as the other dog approached him. But if ever this happened we would be on it. (I know some of you will roll your eyes as this is breaking dog training rules)  but if he put his head down and ran generally me, my sister and  my dad would all take off in hot persuit after him, screaming like loons trying to distract him and encourage him to come back and join us. Did it work? Not always. Did we try? Every single time.

Yet the people I met this morning didn’t. They didn’t seem to care that I spent the entire time I was within their eye sight purposefully keeping my dog and me as far away from them as possible. They didn’t notice that there was always (until their dog took off) me in-between their dog and BD. Nope they didn’t pick up on anything until I screamed “He’s not friendly.”

I worry BD is going to get a stigma. I don’t want people to judge him without knowing him. I don’t want to be ‘the woman with the unfriendly do’ but actually if that keeps their dogs away from mine, and BD safe. For the first time in my life I genuinely don’t care what people think. I will step up and be whatever the label needs to be to keep my boys safe!

Causing Extra Stress

I have (possibly) had a break through moment, but dear friends I would very much value your thoughts, opinions and two cents on this matter.

Recently  I have been thinking a lot about BDs fear aggression. Following on from his attack he has been doing ok with dogs, although he did go for Mity the other day. They are both fine. BD was muzzled and Mity just squeezed past to him too closely trying to get around my mother and me. It was a bit of a hectic night and I should have found a way to not have them both in my house, but I had no option.

Anyway. Bd has taken to barking at most dogs we see when we walk past them. Turns out it is only with me that he does this. Apparently when he is with my ex he can now walk past all sorts of dogs on the other side of the road, but with me he does this excited bark/jump/yelp thing and almost tries to run at the dog but not in a ‘grrr I’m going to kill you’ manner more a ‘look, look, dog’ excited way. I know that I need to work on this, a large (potentially muzzled) dog barking at your dog does not a happy owner make (he has officially ruined any chances I may have had with the fit young vet, by barking like a loon at the vets JRT which resulted in a very disapproving glare from said vet to me the crazy lady who can’t control her dog!)

But I am not asking for your opinions on that (although any advice you have would be appreciated) No today I want to discuss my obsession with battling through BDs fear to one day see him play with other dogs. Every since I have known BD I have wanted to see him relax around other dogs. I want him to not be scared. I want a confident happy boy. I have once or twice seen him play with dogs. Watching him run around with them was amazing, and the big smile on his face when he was warn out and exhausted was just amazing. But (and here it comes)…

Is this need to see him relax in BDs best interest or just an obsession I have. Is this about BD or me?

When I go out walking with BD he doesn’t care if we meet another dog or not. So long as he has his tennis ball and we are together then he is happy. On the odd occasion we come across another dog (ignoring the lead bouncing for now) we take steps to avoid the interaction; I detour of the path or change direction, we usually pass the other dog without incident and carry on our way. I have learnt how to manage the situation and so has BD. When we are walking in a wood, or somewhere else where BD can be off lead once the other dog is a safe distance away and not likely to run back to try and say hi to BD I will re-remove his muzzle, congratulate him and we carry on.

So long as I have remembered his tennis ball BD is beyond happy. He doesn’t seem to worry that there is no one else around and as we walk out in the country as much as able, there aren’t really any dogs for him to play with anyway. He gets on fine with Mity, and so there is no longer the problem of having the two of them together. On walks they ignore each other and (until the attack) they ignored each other in the house as well. Yes, there were occasions when BD would be slightly concerned to hear Mity ‘talking’ to me and if ever Mity wanted to do crazy dog I would hang on to BD so that he wouldn’t chase Mity as on the occasion I wasn’t fast enough they would both just kinda panic and freeze. Mity would look at BD as if to say “why are you chasing me” and BD would look at him as if to say “why were you running and why have we stopped?”.

If BD is contented, and Mity is happy. Why do I want to push it further?

Am I right to encourage BD to relax around other dogs, regardless of his nerves? Or do I accept him for who he is and let this go?

 

P.S It’s this post Pamela that you inspired!

I need your get well wishes

 

I don’t reach out for help. I overshare like hell, but I don’t reach out and ask for help when I am struggling. I was worried that people wouldn’t care if I told them I was struggling or needed help. The few times I have taken the risk and reached out I have received (a metaphorical) slap in the face and it’s very much a case of once bitten, twice shy.

 

However today I am asking for your help.

 

I am worried about Mity. My quiet unassuming little guy isn’t well and I have no idea what is wrong with him. It started last week. He started bringing up undigested food. I was worried. Then he started with the runs. He has colitis so he is never ‘firm’ but this was kinda like water running through him, flouresent yellow water – try cleaning that up from the sidewalk! But he seemed fine in himself and so we tried some egg and bran flakes to try and firm him up. It seemed to be working until he brought up the egg whole and then went off his food.

 

Mity refusing food is a sign of something being wrong. He is food obsessed and lives for his food, he knows his routine and sticks to it.

 

–          Early morning walk. Back onto the parents bed for half a bonio. Get the other half when my mum  gets up and the two of them head downstairs for breakfast.

–          Lunchtime. Two more biscuits.

–          If anyone goes out. Onto the settee for a couple of biscuits (if we get our coats, he will get onto his settee and start hunting for his biscuits. He is generally quite disappointed if he is coming with us and so gets no biscuits.

–          Dinner time. Kibble. Dinner time is 6pm but Mity will begin reminding us that it is nearly dinner time from about 4pm.

–          Evening walk. Into bed for 3 biscuits. These three biscuits he will count and has been  known to get my dad back out of bed my dad has made an error and only given him two (true story!)

 

If we have a visitor turn up at the house while Mity is eating he isn’t sure what to do, but more often than not finishing his tea wins out.

 

When we give Mity a biscuit, he takes it an drops it onto the floor and leaves it, well it’s a vet visit.

 

I didn’t make it to the vets with him (I was painting my house) but the report back from my parents was that he was running low on Vitamin B(something) as a result of having the runs and sickness and this was making him feel a bit sorry for himself. He was given a couple of injections and was back to his old self.

 

Things were starting to pick up. He has been on antibiotics and rice and egg for a few days and we thought he was over it.

 

Then the runs came back. Then the sickness. Then last night the refusal to eat.

 

Mity is fine in himself. He is happy, playful and if you walked into our house you wouldn’t know he is poorly at all.

 

I don’t know what to do. We are calling the vets again today to see what they suggest. But we are all worried.

 

Please can I ask you to send a truck load of get well wishes his way. I hate to see him like this, even though he is ok in himself. I am worried the vets have missed something. I am worried he is very poorly and we haven’t noticed.

 

If anyone has any advice, tips, thought or spare wine please do leave them in the comments.

 

Thank you

Try training your own dog!

He’s got to learn“. That’s what one very lovely elderly woman told me as her hyperactive young dog jumped all over Mity as I tried my best to keep her dog from jumping all over him. Mity is getting am old man (which I hate to admit) and his eyesight and speed aren’t what they were and so he does not enjoy being ‘played with’ by other dogs as much as he once did.

I bent down to try and separate the two dogs and then she said “don’t worry if he retaliates, he’s got to learn.”

Which I completely agree with, but it isn’t up to me or my dog to teach her dog how to interact with strange dogs. That ones on her!

Now Mity is as close to trust worthy as a dog can be so I was confident that her dog was safe jumping on his head, pissed off but confident that it wouldn’t turn into a fight. But had I been with BD the situation would have been completely different. In that situation Mity would have given a warming followed by an air snap, and then if the lesson isn’t learnt he may have taken it further (which is why he is muzzled when around strange dogs).

Firstly, I do not go into the whole ‘dogs are dogs so let’s just leave them to sort it out’ attitude. To that I say “hell no”. I am not ok with letting my dog ‘fight it out’ with anyone or anything. I want me dog to look to me for guidance in a situation and to feel confident that I will keep them safe. To have them trust me that I know what I am doing. I will assess how my dog will interact with your dog. I will assess when repetitively jumping on a strange dogs head that is trying to walk away is appropriate (FYI it isn’t ever!!) and I will allow my dog to interact as I deem appropriately.

Secondly, going back to the feeling safe point above. BD has fear aggression. If a dog gets too up in his face and he can’t get away he reacts….and then we both take a step back in our training. I feel like a failure for not getting him out of the situation in which he felt threatened. We both become more edgy when we meet the next dog. It takes weeks of hard work to get to the place we were in before you let you ‘un-trained’ dog learn a lesson from my dog.

If you commit to having a dog. You are committing to everything that comes with owing a dog, the cuddles, the fun, the kisses, the bed sharing, the squeaking toys just as your favourite TV programme comes on, the ‘scooping of the pooping’ and the training. Take some god damn responsibility!!

(This incident has annoyed me so much I have pulled my phone out mid walk to write my thoughts down. This means that I have been slightly distracted from Mity while I rant. Don’t worry, he’s on a long lead and there is no one else on the field, so I know he is safe  – I’m not completely neglectful.But I feel bad he’s not had my full attention however Mity has never been happier as he has spent this time puddle dancing… however he may not enjoy his now much needed bath quite as much!!)

Dad said no!

I know that that makes me sounds like a 3 year old. I know that in actual fact I am an adult, but when I was weighing up whether or not I was ready to commit in yesterdays post I knew a major factor would be my parents help. Although he would be my dog I would need their support, basically I would need a good dog sitter for me to have any life outside of the dog. My mum said “let’s talk about it” but my dad wouldn’t and said it was a “stupid idea” and thus the conversation was ended. My dad isn’t usually like that, over the last few months he has listened as I have worried about my new house, worried about work, the ex… you name it he has listened and supported me on. But for some reason, last night there was no conversation it was a no.

The downside is I had made my mind up to wanting him. Well I’d not decided I wanted him more the idea of someone else having him made me feel sick to my stomach. It felt right, like he was my destiny. It felt like I felt about my house when I saw it for the same time, or how I continue to feel about the ex (yep, we’ll leave that there!!)

For the first time in 6 months the idea of leaving work and getting home excited me. I saw morning and evening walks across fields, I saw weekends off hiking up some sort of hill, I saw a life. I was still unsure. I was going to have to introduce him to both BD and Mity and it would all depend on how he would react being left for such a large portion of the day. But my dad’s firm no has robbed me of taking the next step, or at least that’s how I feel.

So now I see evenings sat in watching TV. Me alone from one evening to the next (unless I have BD of course). I know I was worried about the social life having a dog would rob me of, but when I think about it what social life? Yes, I will see my friends, but they all have partners, kids, lives, the vast majority of my time will be spent alone (Well annoying you lot on twitter). Yes, I will have days away, weekends away, holidays but when you break down my year a whole portion of it would be just me.

I know it is not up to my dad, but I am not naive enough to imagine I could have a dog full time alone. For that to happen I would have to give up any sort of social life which I just can’t do. I would need to have support and dog sitters. I text my sister to see if she would on occasions dog sit and she wasn’t overly keen. In fact the only person massively supportive (who I contacted in a moment of weakness) was the ex who said he would be more than happy to factor a second dog into the BD dog share scenario and would take it off my hands any time I was busy and needed it looking after. Which opens a whole new can…does he not realise that he didn’t want me in his life and so he can’t support me in that way? I am very aware that any day he could find someone new, or I could really piss him off and he can take BD and vanish. Plus if he meets anyone new, well they won’t want the ex around; he can’t commit to me long term any more. I am all too aware of this – why isn’t he??

i could learn a lot from my dog

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So things got a little more stressful at home this week. BD and Mity have been getting along ok. It has been one good session and one bad. BD lifts his tail and stiffens when Mity walks past, and sometimes Mity will change his path to walk around BD (however if he is in the mood he will walk under his nose multiple times, just because he can!)

Friday night Mity was at my sisters house as mum and dad were out and my sister had organised to Mity sit long before I moved home. So I organised that I would have BD for the evening. It meant he could be unmuzzled for the evening and for a few precious hours it would be just like old times. And it was. We cuddled on the settee, we played chase, we did tricks, he licked the tears from my nose – I loved every second.

When Mity came home BDs muzzle went back on and the rest of the evening went past like any other visit. However for the first time Mity refused to sleep when we went to bed. He was unsettled and kept my folks, he sleeps in their room, awake all night. BD has stopped over before, where he is locked downstairs in his tent and before this evening we have never had any problems – they both settled this way fine on bonfire night with fireworks going off!

The next morning BD decided he would climb onto Mitys spot on the settee. BD was instantly told “off” and he didn’t even get all four paws on the settee but Mity responded by cocking his leg on the corner of the couch. We didn’t go ape at him or tell him off but he can’t do that.

The worrying this is this isn’t Mity. He hasn’t had an accident inside since he was a puppy any that have happened have been our fault for not realising he was stood at the door. He won’t even pee if we take him into town and has spent hours with us encouraging him to go where he waits and holds it until he gets to a less densely populated area. Yet he intentionally cocked his leg.

If this goes on I can’t have BD – I can’t stress out Mity and will not put either of them through something they don’t enjoy for my own selfishness. Yet at the moment the only days I want to get out of bed is when I am getting up to walk BD and I am literally living for his next visit. Also when things went down hill and MD spent those evenings cuddled with me as I sobbed into his fire I told him I would not leave him and walk away not matter what happened (his fear aggression came about when OH separated from his ex and they took a dog each.)

HELP!!!

I failed my dogs!

It was while I was still living with BD and OH. My mum and dad had come over for the evening and brought Mity with them. The process of introducing Mity to BD was a very slow on, I took baby steps and then some. To begin with BD would be locked in the kitchen while we were at my folks and although they could see each other they couldn’t get to each other. I did not like this as BD was alone for most of the visit, but what option did I have? BD has issues with anyone around his face, he needs his space, and Mity loves every dog he meets and I knew if the two were put together a fight most probably would have occurred and not only would I never forgive myself the mental harm it would do to both Mity and BD meant that the risk wasn’t worth it!

As I got to know BD more, I realised that he very rarely instigates the incidents, usually he will give off all the correct warnings but the other dog will ignore him so he panics, and that he is much less concerned when he is off the lead as this means he can get away from the other dog.

When I first introduced Mity and BD to each other it was in a big field with BD loose and Mity on an extendable lead. It was better than I could imagine, they both completely ignored each other. As they got more and more used to each other we started bringing them closer to each other – Mity was let off the lead so if he wanted to approach MD he could, we would go to the pub for a drink and they would sit separated by the table in the beer garden together. Eventually we took them back to the garden, then to the house – BD is always muzzled around Mity but over time they have gotten better at ignoring each other. We have slowly left toys out when they are together and everything was going well. Until I messed up.

It was one evening after work, mum and dad had bought Mity to my house and the two dogs were roaming around the garden. In the garden was BDs treat ball and Mity had taken an interest in it pushing it around with his nose – there were no treats in the ball (Mity has colitis and so we are extra carefully with what he has access to!) BD decided to go and put his head close to Mity…

this was the moment that I hate myself for, I didn’t move. Part of me wanted to walk across, remove the treat ball and call them both away. However there was the other part of me (the part I listened to) who didn’t want to make a big deal of this by calling them away and BD had chosen to put his head next to Mity so I watched from the door.

it happened so quickly, BD growled and Mity was knocked onto his back. I screamed, probably no, and ran across the garden, I was there in seconds (it is only a small garden) grab Mity to my chest and then reached out to BD and noticed he had a tiny “nick” on his nose that was bleeding.

I failed my dogs:

1. I picked up Mity and then having checked he was ok I reached out to BD. My poor scared, frightened big guy was left to the side for what will only have been minutes while I checked Mity.

2. I noticed the “nick” on BDs nose and my first thought was – did Mity bite him, or catch him in error? Mity who has never bitten a dog in his entire life, who has been attacked too many times and never put up a fight I thought may have bitten BD.

I feel like such a failure, and even now sharing this I have tears running down my face. Because of my pour judgement I put my dogs in a bad situation and I let them down.

Since this incident Mity and BD have spent more time together, and although both are just slightly more on edge around each other now there has been no more incidents and they are getting more and more used to be around each other.

But I still failed!!

My morning routine

I’ll be honest, I am a creature of habit and like my routine – to the extent that I have been know to have full on panic attacks if my routine is threatened, but that’s another story for another time!

My morning routine used to be
– 6.30am: OH alarm goes off, he puts it on snooze and we cuddle in bed for 10 minutes.
– 6.40am: OH alarm goes off for a second time, he groans gets out of bed and takes BD for his morning walk. I stretch out and fall back to sleep on OHs side of the bed
– 6.55am: My alarm goes off, and I push the snooze button repeatedly until OH comes back from walking the dog, brings my morning coffee up for me and tells me to get up. BD comes upstairs with OH, and stands at the side of the bed wagging his tail and licking my hand.
– 7.00am: OH leaves the house, I invite BD to join me on the bed while I drink my coffee.
– 7.30ish: Pull myself away from BD and go to jump in the shower. Be followed by BD with his favourite toy (a mit that was brought to clean the shower with. This has become his most prize possession which he found and retrieved from where it lived, for a few months the mit was put away before I left the house, long ago I gave up and it now lives in his toy box.)
Spend the entirety of the shower with BD dropping the mit within my reach and me chucking it for him, only once did the mit join me in the shower (I turned round from washing my face to see it bobbing in the water) and only once has it landed in the toilet due to a chuck from BD (when OH was on watch, I always made sure the toilet lid was closed before playing this game!)
– 7.45ish (depending on timings, hair washing etc): get out of shower, to get dressed, followed by BD and the mit.
– 8amish: sort out BD breakfast, toys, get my lunch out of fridge etc. Occasionally if running early take BD for a quick walk.
– 8.10am: feed BD breakfast including getting a Sit, Paw and Kiss before saying goodbye and heading to work.

Now….

– 6.55am: Alarm goes off, feel pleased with myself for sleeping through the night. Then get a stabbing feeling through my heart as I look across to the other side of the bed and realise there is no OH and will be no BD to greet me.
– 7am: get into shower, where there is no mit tossing, no games, in fact I am alone in the bathroom for the first time in 10 months.
– 7.15am: get dressed.
– 7:35am: go into mum’s room kiss her goodbye and Kiss the top of Mitys head (he is fast asleep and less than impressed I am waking him, he stretches and roles over)
– 7:40am: get lunch from fridge, leave for work. Hope that today I will feel numb and have fewer tears.