Monthly Archives: October 2013

A walk in the woods

Lovely sunny autumn day yesterday and I decided I’d take Spencer somewhere different for a change.  With my blood sugar dropping so often I’ve been sticking fairly close to home  and we’ve done lots of walks around the crop fields which is pretty boring.  For me at least, Spen doesn’t seem to mind where we go as long as we go and he gets to sniff.  And sniff.  And sniff some more.  I’m sure he’s part beagle sometimes lol.  We seem to have solved the problem for the most part now so I thought we’d venture a bit further afield.

So we went through town and into the woods up there.  Climbed a hill covered with fallen leaves.  And fallen branches and loose stones hidden beneath them.  Sat and rested on bench coz I’m horribly unfit and needed a rest after that.  Spencer surprised me by lying down next to the bench rather than pestering me to get moving.  Perhaps all those rests while waiting for Dextro to kick in and bring my blood sugar back up have had that effect.  He even stayed lying down while a GSD walked past on the other side of the path, about 3ft away.  Which is unheard of.  He did whine at it and wag his tail but he stayed where he was.

Impatient to be on our way

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Once I’d recovered we set off along a trail.  Spencer found some lovely mud much to his delight.  He actually got far dirtier on the way back, all 4 legs, his belly and his face were black.  Apparently he needed to stick his face under and blow bubbles in the mud.  Strange creature that he is.   Which sadly I didn’t get a picture of as there were just too many dogs around for me to mess around with flexi and camera.  Thankfully he also appears to be teflon coated and nothing sticks to him for long so by the time we got home he was a yellow Labrador again.

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Spen kept jumping up the side of the path we were walking on to run a long for a few steps and then back down.  Apparently that was fun.  This is the sort of terrain he was running along.  Perhaps he could have a career as a parkour dog.

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At one point we came across the Grim Reaper and his friend.  I have no idea what they were doing all dressed up in scary costumes in the woods or what the other guy was supposed to be.  Me and Spen stopped to let them pass since not everyone likes a wet and muddy Labrador passing within inches of them, especially not when clearly dressed up for whatever reason.  Mud and yellow hair is just not a good look for Death is it?  Wish I could have got a picture but seems a bit rude to take photos of random people even if they are wearing a strange costume and wandering around in the woods.

A little further along the trail and look what we found!  The river!  At last!

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Spencer was a little perturbed by it at first as there was no gradual incline to get in, he had to instantly plunge into deep water.  But it didn’t put him off for long and he was soon swimming around attempting to retrieve sticks he found and failing that retrieving his leash.

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We turned around after a play in the river since we’d set out quite late and it was starting to get dark.  Don’t mind walking in the dark but I don’t know those woods and the trail was hard enough to see in daylight at times and so much mud and so many loose stones and stuff underfoot that I’d likely have broken my neck trying to walk through them in the dark.  Or gotten horribly lost.  I’m good at that.  Planning to go back there soon though and follow the path further and see where we end up.  And take a toy I can throw into the river for him to fetch, I didn’t have a suitable one in my bag.  And maybe even a picnic since I could end up horribly lost lol.

The only downside to the walk was the sheer number of people and dogs we encountered.  Spencer spent the entire walk on his flexi as I forgot to pick up the long line which had been left on a radiator to dry.  And I really don’t like the flexi for long walks, it’s uncomfortable to hold for long periods and I’m not as confident in controlling him no it as I am on the long line.  But he did really well.  He only lunged at one dog and that was the one that lunged at him growling.  Course if he’d been off leash he’d likely have gone rushing up to introduce himself to them all though.  But I suppose it’s good practise for us.  If we always walk where we rarely see anyone we can’t really work on ignoring other dogs can we?  Although lately I seem to be running into loads of dogs on every walk for some reason.

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We’re still around

Well we’re still here and it has been pointed out that I am hopeless and haven’t posted to my blog in quite a while.  So here I am again.  There’s not really much changed since I last posted though.

We’re still working on recall.  Spencer is now only get a treat for turning and coming straight back when he’s called rather than being rewarded for faffing around, stopping to sniff or taking the scenic route back to me.  It took about 6 times of getting no treat for slow responses to speed him up and now we’re only getting the occasional slow one.  Still having problems with it when it comes to other dogs though, he would still ignore a recall to go and introduce himself to a dog within a certain distance.  And will still follow a dog we’re walking with to run up to a dog at a much greater distance.  Once he’s met a dog he’s happy to come back, just not until he’s met it.  So obviously he’s still on his long line a lot.  Really not sure what else I can do with it to be honest.  Just keep on working at it I guess and hope that one day it sinks in.  He’s walked past a few dogs recently without so much as a pull in their direction but would still have run up to them from about 20m away if he’d been off leash.  I’m sure some people think I’m expecting too much but I don’t find it acceptable for him to go rushing up to every dog he sees.  What if the dog is elderly?  Recovering from illness?  Aggressive?  Frightened of other dogs?  A guide dog or other assistance dog doing its job?  Not fair to them or their owner to have my social butterfly of a dog bounding up.

Other than that he is doing really well though.  We still go to the husky meets each week and he’s started to check in with me regularly and on Sunday he actually went into work mode for about 20 minutes, completely ignoring the other dogs and offering me his tricks.  This was after about 90 minutes of playing lol but it’s a start.  He has never “worked” there before, the most I’ve been able to get is a sit or down and that’s clearly been difficult for him because he’s wanted to be off playing, not stuck with me.  We’ve been doing a lot more training and playing out on walks lately though.  Nothing fancy, just the basics and playing some chase (I will not call what I do running, anyone who knows me would likely fall over laughing at the thought I might run) and some tug.

Spendog has had kennel cough recently and I have to say I can sort of understand why owners who didn’t walk him rehomed him.  He was an absolute nightmare!  He copes fine with a couple of days of restricted walks but over a week with no walks at all is another matter.  He was climbing the walls after 3 days!  And that’s with us doing lots of training and him being given stuffed Kongs and Tug a Jugs and stuff like that.  Thankfully we’re back to walking now and he’s back to his usual self and able to just chill when there’s nothing going on.

So, time for some pictures I think!  Walks have been a little limited lately due to me still having problems with my blood sugar crashing on them, been doing a loop around the crop fields mostly since it means I’m not so far from home as I am on our usual walks.   Perhaps I should just start taking a picnic out with me.  Sitting in the grass in the pouring rain eating a sandwich or something might be fun lol.

First here’s a video of a short training session with Spencer while he was on house arrest with kennel cough.  Nothing fancy or complicated, just me trying to wear him out a little.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTS_NnlL3W0

Let’s dance.

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Managing a down stay with another dog nearby.  Not sure what the weird expression is all about lol

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And apparently Kong Wobblers are best when you hide in the curtains with them.

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