Monthly Archives: August 2012

Go to your mat

It’s been stupidly hot here the last few days.  Too hot to go for a walk during the day and by the time it’s cooled down at night it’s too dark to go anywhere.  Gotta love Germany for the lack of street lights!  So we’ve been doing short walks around the block for toilet purposes, a game of fetch outside the flats around midnight and doing plenty of training.  It’s far from ideal but if I’m too hot to want to move or eat then how must Spen be feeling inside a fur coat?  He’s been spending almost all day lying on the bathroom floor which is probably the coolest place in the whole flat.  Apparently damp towels make it even better since when I have a shower he then steals the towel from wherever I put it, makes himself a nice bed of damp towel on the bathroom floor and lies on it.

Anyway, the main thing we’ve been working on over the last few days is “go to your mat”.  I use a towel for this as I find it’s more portable than a mat large enough for Spen to lie on.  The end goal is to get him lying on the mat and staying there no matter what is going on around him.  The goal at the moment is to get him to lie on the mat.  That’s going well actually.  He doesn’t find it particularly fun, he much prefers things where he has to move quickly and jump around.  But it’s too hot for that so for now I’m using fairly boring biscuit type treats for when he’s on the mat doing anything but a down and cheese or meat when he’s lying on it.  So far so good, he seems to be experimenting with what works.  He’ll offer a down beside the mat then when that gets him nothing will move over a few inches so he’s on it and gets his click and treat.  Or he’ll sit on it, get a boring treat then lie down and get something good.  He’s even trying approaching it from different angles to see whether that changes anything, last night he walked around the bed, jumped up onto it then took a flying leap to land on his mat and lie down lol.  We’ve also built in a bit of distance, he can go to his mat and lie on it with me half a room away, next thing to add in is duration.  At the moment he’s rewarded as soon as he lies on it but I think it’s time to start upping the stakes there and waiting for a second before clicking.

Oh, and a bit of an update on the stroppy teenage thing.  So far so good, his attention to me while out is picking up again and he’s been off the leash outside the flat a few times in the last couple of days.  I’m actually wondering now whether it could be something to do with more dogs using the area due to having new neighbours with 2 dogs and the weather bringing out all the dogs who usually don’t see light of day.  We’ve been mobbed by several of those already but that’s a rant for another day I think.  I think it helps that I’ve found a treat he really likes, gouda cheese.  Normally we have cheddar and he’s a bit “meh” about it but I bought a packet of gouda slices the other day and apparently they’re much more to his liking.  So much so that he tries to actually steal them.

We’re going to have the vet out as soon as he can get out to us.  Noticed that Spens ears are looking disgusting.  I dunno whether they’re just dirty or whether he has infection in there so I think a vet check is in order.  There’s no discharge or anything and he doesn’t seem to be in pain but I don’t want to be putting stuff in there and making any infection worse if there is one.  Fingers crossed it’s not an infection.

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Stroppy Teenager

Well it’s definitely happened now.  My lovely, biddable, reasonably obedient dog has become a stroppy teenager who no longer feels he needs to pay any attention to me.  We’ve been having “Kevin” (so named after the Harry Enfield Kevin and Perry stuff) moments for a while now but he’s suddenly morphed into him full time.  I remember Shadow my collie going through it and he was absolute HELL, the stuff nightmares are made of.  He was over it by about 18 months though.  Spencer’s 15 months old and it seems the fun is just beginning.  I’ve been told this stage can last till they’re 3 years old, I’ve not told my husband that delightful bit of information yet.

So yeah, we’re back to the very basics when it comes to training.  Pretty much just working on what he already knows outside, enforcing it, insisting that the rules are still the same on a day to day basis etc.  It’s a shame he had to hit this phase now, just as the leash law is up and he could be off leash.  Unfortunately as his recall has all but disappeared he’s still on the long line.  He’s also discovered the joys of chasing rabbits.  Not much fun for me when he spots one and takes off.  Wouldn’t be such an issue off leash as there’s nowhere dangerous he can go unless he runs for a few miles but on the long line it can be rather painful.  So we’re working on that too.

I’m getting horror stories right, left and centre about what will happen if I don’t have him neutered before he hits 18 months old.  Apparently in just under 3 months time he will turn into this aggressive, sex mad, out of control beast who will be a nightmare to own for the rest of his life.  Now okay, maybe he will become a pain and maybe neutering will be our best option but quite honestly, I’ve had male dogs before, none were neutered before 3 years of age and none ever became sex mad, aggressive, out of control beasts.  So I’ll take my chances with Spencer.  If neutering is truly the best option it’ll be done but I’m not prepared to whip his balls off just in case, especially not before he’s fully mature!  My vets are horrified by my attitude.  Oh well, it’s my dog and he’ll be my problem if their dire prophecies become reality.

We went for a nice long walk yesterday.  It was a longer walk than I intended as we got completely and utterly lost.  Spent the best part of 3 hours wandering around in some woods and little back streets before finally finding our way home.  It’s not good when you come across a sign saying you’re leaving the town you live in.  I really don’t want to know how far we walked but both of us were knackered when we got home!  And to make matters worse it had been quite chilly when we set off but the sun decided to put in an appearance and it became absolutely boiling.  Other than that though it was quite a pleasant walk.  Spen didn’t really pull, we had a few occasions where the leash went tight but it wasn’t the head down, shoulder to the ground sort of pulling and a quick reminder got him loosening it again.  So we’re getting there with the loose leash walking. Unless hubby’s there of course.

Spencer is back on raw now that I’m home.  I’ve introduced a few new things to him.  Cows ears he thoroughly enjoyed once he figured out they were food.

 

The fish head he got extremely excited about and didn’t even hesitate.  He really seemed to enjoy it, even going so far as to suck his towel clean after he finished eating.  Excuse the state of the towel, it gets washed every few day but it’s acquired some stains that won’t come out.

 

Day old chicks however weren’t such a hit.  Hope the links work coz he cracked me up with them.

Also, I managed to get him a paddling pool while I was in the UK.  It’s not a very good one but for what it cost I figured it doesn’t matter whether it’s dead within a week.  He’s much more impressed with that than he was with the day old chicks.

Anyway, I think that’s all I have at the moment.  It’s another boiling hot day here, Spen’s currently lay with his head underneath my computer chair looking like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth despite the fact he’s stolen god knows how many things already today and no doubt will steal even more when my husband gets home from work.

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6 months on

Well it’s been 6 months since Spencer came to live with me and I have to say I have absolutely no regrets.  He is an absolutely fantastic dog, about as perfect a match as I’m going to get I think.   He has his faults but what dog doesn’t?  Seen a few changes to him in the 6 months I’ve had him.  I’m not sure whether he’s lost weight or just toned up since I’ve not had him weighed since his first vet check where he was 33kg.

This was him in February

 

And this is how he looks now

 

Couldn’t find 2 pics taken at the exact same angle but I think there’s quite a big difference in how he looks now despite that.

He’s a hell of a lot calmer now than he was when I got him.  He’s still full of energy and ready to do something but he can now settle down and sleep while I’m doing stuff that doesn’t include him.  He doesn’t HAVE to be the centre of attention all the time.  I think this is partly due to the change in food, we put him back on the food he was on when we got him and he became a nightmare to live with.  But he’s also been taught that sometimes he needs to just settle down and chill out.  He’s no longer crated for a couple of hours each evening but will happily just lie down and let us watch a movie or read a book or whatever now.

He’s no longer terrified when asked to lie down.  Instead he throws himself happily to the ground and lies there wagging his tail and grinning.  He is still frightened of my husband if he thinks he’s done something really bad, like having an accident in the house, but he comes round much more quickly and isn’t too bad with me.  I’m not sure whether we’ll ever fully get over that problem but for how rarely it happens it’s not really a big deal.

My house is tidier.  Unless you count all the dog hairs and toys all over anyway.  It’s gotta be tidier if I want to keep my stuff intact!  Or know where it bloody is.  Not managed to break him of his thieving ways yet, if it isn’t nailed down he’ll still have it.  And he’ll still swipe stuff out of pockets before you can blink.  He’s worse for me with this than he is with my hubby.  Possibly coz I usually have exciting things like poo bags and tissues in mine while hubbys are usually empty.

I’ve been slacking a bit in his training and just enjoying him and being out and about with him.  We play lots of 101 things to do with whatever random object I’ve found and he’s learned the basics but I need to pull my finger out and get teaching him some more stuff properly.  He’s so quick and eager to learn that it would be a shame not to teach him beyond the basics.

And although I’m well aware of the danger of sticks I just liked this photo so have to share it.

 

I think that’s it for our 6 month update really.  I have to take Spen for his walk now anyway, poor bugger got left behind while I did the 40 minute walk to the nearest supermarket for some shopping earlier and he wasn’t best impressed.

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