Dog Log Archives - Theo's Dog Blog - The Misadventures of a big ginger dog

Dog Log

Dog log chalkboard - 06-01-2013 We’ve had a few fun-filled weeks over the festive season, spending lots of time with Theo. There have been lots of opportunities for impromptu play and he has had plenty of new sights, sniffs and sounds in our Christmas celebrations. Unfortunately, we have both gone back to work, and this has meant less time with him and he has got a bit bored. However, as you can see on the dog log chalkboard, his interactions with other dogs still has been very good with no negative encounters. The training has been working, keeping both body and mind active. Now that I think about it, the high numbers of dogs that we met at the beginning of the week was due to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The local parks and woods have been filled with families venturing away from the comfort of their homes as the weather improved. On days like these, it seems that we live in black labrador country, and thankfully Theo is becoming far more relaxed around them. Typically the younger labs will be off-lead and bouncing around their young families.

As Theo is on-lead we occasionally have situations where a couple of off-lead dogs will run towards him, or crowd him as they all want to join in with the “hello sniff”. He doesn’t like this much, and will tend to spring away or give the dog a warning bark. This means that when we’re approaching another dog or group of dogs, we’ve tended to direct Theo to walk off-course and in a different direction. Unfortunately, simply going in the opposite direction doesn’t work, as he feels that he’s being followed and will put the brakes on. This means that we’ll have to think about what’s around the next corner, and possible escape routes to avoid situations where he feels trapped. This is often achieved by moving  10, 20 yards or so off the path, where he watches the others walk past. Now that he’s becoming used to being given this choice, he will often stop nearer the path, or even continue walking towards the dogs if he feels sufficiently confident in them. I should point out that he is quite a happy dog, but due to his hunting instincts we walk him on the leash. His interactions off-lead are very good, but when he’s on-lead and he’s being buzzed by another dog, he needs his space.

On a related episode, I had an interested moment on Saturday night when we were walking around the local farmer’s fields and into the recreational grounds. It was pitch black with low cloud cover, and I only had torch light to guide us. In the distance, we could see a jogger approaching. The jogger was wearing a head-torch and Theo had never seen the like! All we could see was a strange swaying light, and all we could hear was the man huffing and puffing on his way. Confronted by this, Theo stopped and watched, and then sat down to observe the spectacle. I praised him with a stroke and some encouraging “good boys”, and we walked on. Then we met the jogger again as he did a lap of the field. Unfortunately, this was too much and he started barking at the man. Here was something he hadn’t seen before, and didn’t like the look of it. With all this excitement, this meant that Theo was like a coiled spring by the time we got home – exactly the opposite of what we wanted!  After cleaning the mud off him, he zoomed up and down the stairs, barking and doing everything he could to get a reaction. He stole socks from the laundry bin and then we spent 20 minutes with games of tug, and playing chase with squeaky toys. Then I had a great idea. What Theo needed was a brain game – not just more exercise.

The Find it Game

Theo being brushed in the sun (Small)- 06-01-2013

Introducing “Super Find It“. I raided the fridge, and our Christmas cheese platter, and chopped up a small piece of strongly flavoured Wensleydale cheese into even smaller pieces (it’s delicious!). Theo was told to sit by the front door, and I then proceeded to hide about 10-15 bits of cheese and biscuit around the living room and kitchen. Some were in plain sight, and some were hidden (a big biscuit under his rug). I then gave him the command to come in, and he practically barged into the room sideways, full of beans. Wagging furiously, he looked up and I gave him another command “Find It”. He found a nice bit of cheese under the side table almost instantly. For the next ten minutes he went round and around the room finding the food. When he gave up, he would come back to me or Kim, who would simply repeat “Find it!” in an excited tone. He would then wag, and carry on until each piece had been found, either by sight or by scent. (By the way, I’m calling this “Super” Find it, as previous versions of the game have been much shorter and involved much less cheese!)

When Theo had found all the pieces, I got his favourite green activity ball (a soft rubber ball with holes at both ends where food can be pushed in), and then put more cheese in. He spent about an hour rolling it, licking it, and generally trying all his best tricks to extract the cheesy treats. We could then relax, and the “coiled spring” was now contented and asleep, lying across Kim’s feet. I would highly recommend this type of game when you need to calm your dog down. (This sounds like a lot of cheese, but it wasn’t really – the trick is to cut up very small cubes).

The next day was Sunday, when I took the photo below in the sunshine as Kim brushed him. As you may guess, we’ve reached that time in the year where he’s started shedding like a good ‘un. I didn’t capture it in the photo, but the wind blew and there were hair balls floating all around us. In fact, Kim and I have a theory that most of bird nests in the local area are lined with ginger fur. He really has very soft fur that is lovely to cuddle. What’s more is that Theo quite likes being brushed, although (as always) the trick is to keep praising him, and feeding him kibble. Well, that’s it for this week. Hopefully some helpful hints, and an insight into the lives of a dog loving family.

Wishing you and your families a very happy 2013!

 

 

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Dog Log – 30th December 2012 (Christmas)

Dog Blog

What a wonderful Christmas it’s been. Thanks to everyone who sent Theo gifts, they’ve been gratefully received (particularly the wrapping paper – see the photo!) The dog log records another good week, and Theo is much happier on his walks. As the saying goes: it’s about training the dog you have.  He is becoming better […]

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Dog Log – 16th December 2012

Dog Blog

It’s husky season. Sometimes the smallest things make a difference in a dog’s life. Sometimes, it’s a change of treats (we reverted to a less protein-rich variety), and the temperatures plummeted to -6C mid-week. It has been a pleasure to play and walk with Theo this week. He has been full of beans and playful. […]

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Dog Log – 9th December 2012

Dog Blog

One of the reasons behind why we write Theo’s dog blog is to share the highs and the lows, the rich river of experiences and simply life flowing along. There have been a lot of things happening outside of the blog this week.. Kim’s return to the hospital for a check up of her broken […]

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