9 Deers and n ‘orse

One thing I have learnt from the recent break-up is to never say never.

I can remember being upset when I moved out of my mum and dad’s house and in with him because I was never going to live with my parents again. When I left my house I owned with him, I remember being distraught and saying good bye to each room in turn, thinking I would never be in there again. Yet I now visit it on a weekly basis to pick up or drop off BD, (usually with him elsewhere, before you all line up to kick my arse for being soft!). I thought I was going to be with him forever….. let’s just leave that there!

As I have previously mentioned BD and Mity have now decided that they would like to play together… they think. However they can’t. If Mity relaxes and starts to “talk” which he does when he plays, BD will sit on my knee and look at him very concerned. Which makes me laugh, you should see the size of this big softy!! If BD makes a quick move Mity freezes worried that he will go for him. As much as I love them both and wouldn’t change them for the world, it is starting to become a little stressful, especially for my folks.

One day they will be together totally chilled out, ignoring each other. During this time my mum and I will discuss how I should just keep BD forever – possession is 9th of the law don’t ya know?! – but then the next time they are together Mity will pace around the house, refuse to settle and on occasions pee. On these visits Mity sets of patrolling the house and my dad follows him to ensure he is not peeing anywhere. This does not a harmoniousness house hold make. Therefore, with the improving weather and end line in sight for my house purchase I have said I will not have BD at my parents house on an evening any more.

It was with this in mind that I took BD on his potential last early morning walk from my mum and dads house. I couldn’t help but smile when I realised how much I would miss this early morning route with BD, especially as I had sobbed uncontrollably on the first few walks here. However, with my new thought process of never say never I didn’t get upset and set out to enjoy what could be our last walk together at 7am in this spot. I wanted to savor the moments and just enjoy it, rather than being too much in my head….. or too upset.

It was with this positive mood that I looked to my left and potentially saw a deer stood under the tree. I say potentially because unless I am 100% certain I will not make a positive identification. I have seen deer in this area before, so there was a strong possibility it could have been a deer but it was far away, on the other side of the dip, half hidden by trees and there are often horses in that field. Therefore I chalked it up as a horse. I picked up BDs tennis ball, threw it for him and continued on our walk.

We had only walked a few more minutes along the path before I looked to my left again and this time I definitely saw 4 deer, on the other side of the dip, not far from the first deer horse, stood grazing.

I took a moment to appreciate the moment before moving on.

We then got to the official ‘ball throwing’ part of the walk in this nice open field, and I couldn’t believe my luck when I walked onto the field and saw at the far end two more deer wandering about their morning routine. BD did not spot them, instead focusing fully on the tennis ball in my hand. I watched them slowly walk away before beginning our game of “chuck the tennis ball and walk after it because it is broken and does not go where it is supposed to any more” – BD loved it! It could only have been 5 minutes after seeing the two that I turned to look back up the field, I was now down the bottom of the field where the two deer had been and BD was running around sniffing the sniffs while I chastised him that if he was paid more attention he would have seen the actual deer and not just sniffed the sniff. As I turned and looked back up the hill I saw two more deer just exciting the field. And then their friend came chasing after them, spotted BD and I, and turned and ran back the way he came. That gave me a grand total of 10 deer, or 9 and n orse if we are calling confirmed sightings.

I can’t tell you how amazing I felt when I finished that walk that day. If that was our last morning walk down there is certainly ended on a high.

O and going back to never say never. having told my parents I wouldn’t have BD on a school night again I forgot that I have him booked in for the entire weekend next weekend so…oops!

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A brief attempt at Agility

When I moved in with him and BD one of my first ‘nags’ was to look into training BD better. I wanted to solve (yes I was young and naïve) his fear issues and get used to him being around a lot of dogs. I did some research and pulled up a couple of groups that offered help with aggression. There were two that I finally narrowed my search down to, one was a local group and the other was a good half hours’ drive away, but instantly I knew that she was the lady I wanted to work with. He decided that he would pay for the training, and so he had the final decision as to which lady we would hire and we went with the local trainer.
Our first meeting with her didn’t go particularly well. She turned up on the wrong day which majorly upset me as I was out and so the training session happened with him and her. I had wanted to be there from the start, so I wasn’t playing catch up but that didn’t happen. From then one we had a mixed relationship. I would meet her for one session and come away feeling very positive and impressed, and then the next session would make me doubt her techniques and whether or not I should go back to her.

Having met with us three times she announced that we should enrol BD into her agility class. In hindsight I think she is an agility nut and her answer to everything is ‘take up my agility class’. Anyway, the first time we went down was really positive. It was lovely to be in a group of people who knew there dogs, where BD could interact slightly and learn new skills. BD loved it. You could just tell that he enjoyed the challenge and I loved working with him to learn a new skill. Worked got in the way and so he didn’t join us very often and agility became our thing and I loved it. When after weeks of trying BD managed a spiral of jumps I don’t know which of us were more pleased.

However, the more time I spent with the club and this lady the more unhappy I became with her methods. She would spray her dogs with water if they barked – not something I agree with. And when BD was bitten in one of her classes her comment of ‘Well that’ll teach him’ had me seeing red. Especially as at the time he was mid jump and the dog came at him. The other dog owner had offered to leave before the incident, but the trainer encouraged her to stay saying it would do BD good to focus with the two there. To begin with they were just running at each other, with a little barking. I am so annoyed that I didn’t challenge her. I should have removed BD from the situation before this happened but I didn’t I let him down. After the bite, despite our success of the spiral jump, I left never to return.

However I want to return, I would love to enrol BD in some agility courses as I would be great for our relationship and would get me out the house once a week. But it’s a case of once bitten twice shy. So what do you think? I know a brilliant lady who does one on one training, but it’s going to be expensive and a bit of a drive which with the purchase of the house I don’t know if I can afford. Plus one on one does nothing for his socialising or me meeting the dog loving millionaire I am going to marry.

I am once again turning to you for guidance and words of wisdom!!

A part-time reactive dog

So as usual I am getting on the band wagon way too late. I did know about the link but buying a house kinda got in the way – yes I will be using that excuse for the foreseeable future!

Anyway, as I have mentioned multiple times BD has fear aggression. If another dog gets into his face and does not pick up on his “I’m not happy, leave me alone” signs he will react. He also appears to have zero bite inhibition (something I am working on!) and so I keep him muzzled when around other dogs, including Mity. Annoyingly it isn’t just other dogs he goes for an he has once gone for a postman, although the postman took full responsibility for the incident, and he has also gone for myself and him. Again in both these incidents actually the ones to blame was myself and him, we know BD doesn’t like people is his ‘space’ and yet I went to kiss his head, while he was asleep – I know I still can’t forgive myself for being so stupid.
I must have read every article I can think of to try and find a way to help BD overcome his reactivity and when I lived with him, I came home on an almost daily basis with a new bit of information I had read and a new way to look at it.

I learnt not to punish BD for reacting. I understood the importance of routine. If we see something that could cause a reaction we did, x, y and z in order and his confidence grew. In fact the weekend before I moved out, I took BD to play with 4 other collies. Seeing my big idiot, race around the field chasing 4 collies smiling his head of made me sob with tears of joy. Watching him ignore an adolescent dog annoying him, snapping near his face and running just in front of the end of his nose (I did try to stop this dog from carrying on with this behaviour) before finally deciding he had had enough and giving a warning but not following through with an ‘I’m going to kill you’ made my heart burst with pride.

But then I moved out. And this changed everything. Now I spend half my week walking a reactive dog and the other half with Mity who loves every dog and everybody he sees. It has thrown me off my game. I’m losing touch with BD’s body language. I don’t trust myself to read a strange dog’s body language and I feel like I have taken a massive step back and it is affecting him. I worry our bond is not as strong as it once was, and I feel like after everything else I am losing him too.

When he separated from his pre-me ex, BD started with his reactivity. When we separated I didn’t want BD to take a step back and so asked to continue to have access. Hell, I didn’t want to give up the dog I love, the dog who in some ways feels like my first dog. I was losing my house, my home and him I didn’t want to lose BD as well. Bd and Mity have helped me face every day, given me something to get out of bed for. But am I just being selfish? By struggling to rebuild our relationship and closeness am I doing an already confused and scared dog more harm???

But when he curls up on my knee or greats me with the stupid grin on his face. Can I walk away? Should I walk away?

Copy Cats

Last night the cutest thing happened! Once again I had BD and so I was trying to keep some semblance of order to his and Mitys interactions. The big problem I am having is that they really want to play together, but they don’t really know how. I am concerned that if they try either Mity will get hurt or BD will freak himself out, snap at Mity and Mity will regress into himself and BD will also take a massive step backwards as every time he snaps we go back to the beginning.

Anyway, they are being very funny in their attempts to figure things out. BD has taken to watching Mity with an extraordinary amount of interest, a silly grin on his face and forwards ears. Mity has taken to acting like a puppy, he chews on sleeves (not leaving a hole) attacks the blankets in his bed and bounds from room to room hoping that someone will chase him. Until BD takes up the offer then he freezes terrified and hides under the table!

This new playful Mity means that for the first time BD is hearing Mity ‘talk’ whilst he is trying to play. This ‘talking’ is in the form of a grumble and an almost mew type sound. Not like a cat though more like someone saying meh meh meh meh without opening their lips – go on try it, I’ll wait! Anyway they first few times Mity did this BD would run at him, I think to see if he was ok as there was no grr and he seemed relaxed. He would also body block me by standing in front of me or trying to sit in my lap so maybe this is more protective?? (Comments appreciated.) I am always sat on the floor with them when they do this so I can grab BDs collar when he surges forward, and cause from this position I can stroke them bother at the same time; one on one side and one on the other.

Anyway, last night for the first time after Mity has spoken BD tried it. It was the cutest thing, he looked confused as he was doing it and started off so quietly it was almost a whisper. The two of them have really become quite close and very funny together and I know they will miss each other when I move out and they no longer have their daily nights together. There are times now when I come home from work and Mity will check behind me and then look as if to say “Well where is he?” and whenever we are out walking if BD smells something, Mity will check it out, if BD pees, then Mity is peeing on top of it, in fact if we would let him he would stick his head in mid flow. I know that the peeing on pee thing is scent marking, but it does make me so happy to see them both interact!!

How to play

Wise friends and other pet bloggers :0p I am once again throwing myself at your feet and asking for some advice…

I have a slight problem with the two guys in my life. You see BD and Mity are getting on like a house on fire. Although I watch them both like a very relaxed hawk (as I know any tension from me would make them tense) when they are together. They are both so good and I am now often laughing at the antics of the two of them when they are together; there’s been the time Mity decided to sit on BDs head, the time BD jumped Mity because he spun around to chase a stick and Mity was in his way. I could go on and on, but to be honest I am massively tight on time and want to get this out, plus leaving it brief gives me room to expand next time I am stuck for content.

The problem is that they want to play together. We did have this problem before when having gotten on really well we started leaving the toys out when they were together. But it started to cause a problem and so the toys were removed. The playing problem has raised its head again. They are both quite happy doing there own thing but when Mity wants to have his made five minutes BD wants to join in. However the site of a very large ginger collie coming at you when you are small and grey is a little daunting and Mity freezes on the spot.

This happened last night as I was laying out BDs bedding. They were both with me and as I lay down the sheet Mity took off, from the conservatory to the dining room with BD in hot pursuit. It looked like BD was trying to round up Mity, which Mity isn’t a huge fan of and I panicked and shouted Mitys name in a panicked tone.

In hindsight I do not think that BD was trying to hurt Mity or that it was in the least bit aggressive. It did however shake Mity up slightly. I could tell as he kept his distance from BD for a while hiding behind a couple of chairs. It also shook me up. I don’t want to have them in a position where something happens and it puts us back a step.

So what do I do? It feels wrong to stop them playing as I don’t want Mity to think having BD in his house means that he can’t have any fun – we already take away his toys. But I would never forgive myself if anything happened as it would affect them both massively.

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated massively!

Calling all dog bloggers.

I need your help. Well I sort of need your help, you see the decision has already been made, the wheels set in motion, but I’d love to know your take on it!
On Sunday I am taking BD for a walk with my friends two dogs. As you know BD can be reactive if other dogs get in his face. I am in two minds about this. Part of my thinks it will be great for him to socialise with two more dogs, my friend knows that BD is reactive and we are walking in a large open space so BD will not feel cornered and will not have to be on his lead. However, BD is spending this week in kennels, he is aware and at the moment I am not in a position where I can have BD for the week. Will this mean he is overly stressed before I start the walk?

BD will be going home to Mity post walk, and I don’t want this walk to result in issues between BD and Mity. I am very cautious of keeping any walks low risk for BD when he is out without Mity but going home to him. However, this means that I am not socialising him at present, other than with Mity and he isn’t a great one for socialising and so I don’t want to pass up this chance!

I would love to know any advice, tips or thoughts you would be willing to share! I am going to take tennis balls and treats galore and will be watching BD like a hawk the entire time we are out. He has been so good recently that I think he is ready for this next step, but you know that they say it takes a village to raise a child, well I think it might be good to have blogville help me raise my dog!

Not the brightest tool in the box

So the other night when I had BD I had the most brilliant idea.

He had dropped him off at my work and I had hidden in the office playing games. Which only slightly back fired as he looked so sad and vulnerable walking between my car and his dropping BD off (I could never resist his little boy lost look!)

Anyway when I went out to check on BD I noticed that he was slightly muddy, which is not a great as I was taking him back to my parents. They are being beyond amazing letting him stay over as they know how much he means to me; but a large, wet, muddy ginger collie and my parents light coloured settee does not mix. Especially when said collie just loves wiping himself up against the settee, the chairs, your legs…. Mum once went out for a dog walk with BD and Mity in light colour trousers and BD spent the entire walk wiping his muddy muzzle over her – suffice to say she now puts on dark trousers when BD is about! Anyway I digress.

So as he was working late, his house was empty and as it would score brownie points with the folks I asked permission to bath BD at the house. He agreed and and so I came up with the genius idea of taking BD on a much deserved muddy walk, where he could wallow to his hearts delight in mud up to his arm pits as post walk he was going to be bathed!

The walk was a success, BD and I had a fab time slip sliding around and everything was going well until on the return leg of the walk that I realised that perhaps this plan wasn’t so great.

Firstly, I had to lift (he won’t jump) my large filthy collie into the back of my car to get him back to the house. I was wearing my work trousers and he did not want to end the walk. I was covered and my poor car boot – do you think I could charge him (him he not him BD) for a valet? Secondly, I had to get a large, muddy, damp collie up a flight of stairs and into the bathroom. The stairs are of course carpeted in a lovely light cream carpet (left over from Mr & Mrs Bodgit) and with him claiming my mess as one of the reasons he stopped wanting to live with me there was no way I was proving him right and trailing mud all over his house! The main problem was I had no idea where the dog towels are now kept or any spare sheets and so after a rub down with the only dog towel I had we made do and ran very quickly up the stairs – hey don’t mock it actually worked!

Once in the bathroom the fun began. Since I moved out the electric shower that was in the house has exploded and is awaiting replacement. He is currently using a plastic shower head thingy which joins the two taps together to produce a shower – great description hey?!

Do you know how hard it is to bath a dog that really doesn’t want to be bathed with a shower hose that if you pull too hard it comes off? Needless to say there was a little bit of bad language as I reattached the shower things for the umpteenth time, and a silent groan when I yet again persuaded BD that he didn’t really want to climb out of the shower covered in shampoo and forced him to stand within reach of the show head. But just to prove I am not all evil I would like to point out that there was an unending supply of treats (which BD loved) and frequent comments of how good he was and how beautiful he would look when I finished (this BD cared less for!)

Anyway after a small workout for myself BD was bathed, although not to the highest of standards, the bathroom was cleaned down to within an inch of his life (I even swept the carpeted bathroom floor) and I was officially filthy. Rest assured BD spent the rest of the night milking the situation for all it was worth!

Don’t tell Mity but it’s his turn tonight ;0)

hanging on by my fingertips!

I think BD is trying to push me over the edge!

We have the most lovely morning routine when he comes to stop at mine. I get up throw him in the car and we go to this lovely field where we can watch the sun come up and have great fun throwing a tennis ball around in a field, until BD begrudgingly follows me back to the car – he can melt hearts with those sad puppy eyes. And as he doesn’t want to leave me (I hope) he has taken to walking the return journey to the car at a snail’s pace, dropping the tennis ball every 100 yards and pleading with me to not go to work and spend the entire day with him. Which if I could I so would!!

However, it is not this heart-breaking walk back to the car that is going to push me over the edge. It is the very fun game that BD has discovered, which we now play every morning when on the field and I don’t know how much longer I can take it. You see it would appear that I have developed a new relationship in my life, and I have become emotionally attached to……his tennis ball!

Yep, you read that right, for whatever god only knows reason I have become emotionally attached to his tennis ball (which is already in a pretty bad shape and is hanging onto life by a thread!) I realised my attachment to this ball may be slightly more than the norm when on one morning early into the spilt, BD dropped the ball in a pile of leaves and neither of us could find it. I burst into tears; I stood there in the middle of a forest and sobbed my heart out because we couldn’t find the tennis ball. I spent far too long looking for the thing and finally ended up at work, puffy faced, red eyed, a little late and very stressed.

It would appear that BD has picked up on this blooming new relationship and for reasons known only to him he disapproves (Ok I can see why he would). So now we play the most fun game every morning when I have him. We walk to the field, I throw the ball using the chucker thingy that I carry and BD shoots after it, tail wagging and we repeat. I begin to relax, enjoy the walk and think actually I can do this dying alone thing, and then he does it to me. He ‘pretends’ to drop the ball. The problem is it is dark and the dog should be an actor, because I cannot tell when he has dummy dropped it and when he has properly dropped it. He does the ‘drop’, the circle around and then the down starring into a patch of grass where he ‘dropped’ the ball and stays still except for his wagging tail. So I walk over to the grass, begin my search and as I fail to locate the ball I feel the panic rising!!

The entire time I will be talking to him about where is it, what’s he done with it. I will look at him, back to the grass patch, back at him, search the grass patch wider and then on my final look back at him he will magic the ball and it will be at his paws while he lies there with this big goofy grin on his face. Meanwhile I pull myself down from the ceiling and we begin the game all over again!!

A different kind of dog walk

So yesterday morning I told you about the lovely walk I had with BD around the village I used to live in. So I thought it was only fair to tell you about the evening walk Mity went on last night..

Last night mine and Mity’s evening walk was supposed to involve walking up to meet my parents from a local pub. However you know what they say about best laid planes….

Everything started better than usual, as I did not have to play the usual game of retrieve Mity from under the dining room table and force him to go out on the walk. Mity does not enjoy walks if it is cold, wet, damp, hot in fact Mity can be stood at the door signalling he wants to go outside and when I get up to take him out he runs and hides. He will also do this to go potty in the garden – if it is peeing it down, he will stick his nose out and decide he will hold it before returning to his bed!

We set off on our walk as usual, with Mity inspecting and peeing on every single blade of grass and leaf we walk past – you cannot walk this dog in a hurry! Before squatting to do his business at the first large area of grass we came to. This is where the walk seemed to fall apart some what. As Mity relieved himself I began the first battle with the poo bags. I don’t know why but I can’t separate plastic bags, be it in the supermarket, a freezer bag or a poo bag I always stand and struggle for a few minutes before someone takes pity on me and takes over. Last night, having removed my gloves I must have spent 5 minutes trying to get the stupid bag to open – luckily these bags have clearly marked open ends so this time I was not wasting time trying to identify which end of the bag should open, but still five minutes in the freezing cold! In the end I had to lick my fingers to get the bag to open (this is a first poo trick only!) and then spent a few minutes playing my favourite game of ‘hunt the poo’.

Having hunted all the poo, and double checked a few times that I had picked it all up. I put a not in the bag and went to put it in the poo bin which is conveniently next to this piece of grass. Now, it was very cold last night, OK not Canadian cold but ‘freeze the poo bin lid to the rest of the poo bin’ cold. So I then had to yank, pull, threaten and plead with the poo bin to allow me to put my bag in the bin. Finally the bin took pity on me, opened the lid, I dropped in the bad announced to Mity we were going to go meet ‘Mum and Dad’, pulled back on my gloves and turned to find Mity has found a second place and was relieving himself with his second poo of the night.

Gloves off, bags fought with (yes this time the bag went into my mouth to try and get it open – there was no way I was licking my fingers) and placed the second bag in the poo bin in time to find my parents coming around the corner wondering where we were and asking why I had only just set off when they had given me plenty of warning. Not quite the nice evening walk Mity and I were expecting!