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Dog Log – 30th October 2012

by Mike on October 30, 2012

in Dog Blog, Dog Log

(The one with the pinecones)

It’s been another interesting week with plenty going on for young Theo, or not so young as we celebrated his 4th birthday! (Read more about Theo’s 4th birthday)…

As you can see on the blackboard, we enjoyed 45 positive interactions with other dogs this week (the total of this week’s encounters on the board, if you were wondering!). We started by going to dog communication in Banstead. From an entirely personal point of view, the first thing I noticed was that the temperature had dropped significantly. The last time we attended, I was wearing t-shirt and this time it was the full fleece / coat combo. To quote someone on the radio “it was cooler than a penguin’s pants”. The field we go to is on the top of a hill, commanding some fantastic views across central London. However, this also means a wind-chill factor to keep you on your toes (or paws).

This week’s session at Dog Communication was interesting, as a few dogs attended that we hadn’t met before. Theo was simply not in the mood. He sniffed about and looked longingly at the sheep a few fields across, but then drifted to the back of the field and hid behind some nettles. He found some giant pinecones and, frustrated by having to wear a muzzle, had a merry old time playing with them.

I’ve included a video below which I actually took in an earlier session (before I started this blog, and when it was still sunny!). Whilst Theo was contently playing “behind the bikesheds”, the other dogs played, and there were one or two scuffles – all of which he ignored. Eventually, I kicked one of the pinecones away from his cover behind the nettles. This was mainly so I could see him from the other side of the field, but also to bring him more into the field and to encourage him to interact with the other dogs. Unfortunately, this was a mistake. One of the other dogs approached him and he growled. Penel (one of the dog communication facilitators) suggested we should lose the pinecones at this point. I agreed, and threw them over the fence. At this point I should mention that Theo has not jumped these fences before. In fact, I haven’t seen any dog jump the fence. It was then we noticed that the fence at the back, next to the nettles and long grass was damaged, and lower than usual. Of course, Theo jumped it to be followed closely by yours truly, wellies and all. Theo seemed fairly nonchalent about the whole thing. He trotted over to his pinecone and carried on trying to nibble it. I picked it up, put in my pocket, put Theebs on the lead and went back to the car. I dropped the cone at the car, and then went back to the field. After I released Theo, he wandered indirectly back to the far corner of the field, hopped over the fence once again and found the second pinecone. I repeated my welly-athletics, and clipped him back on the lead. This time, when we re-entered the field I kept him on a long line.

On Tuesday, Kim reported that Theo had another great encounter with Gus, a boisterous Cane-Corso. The rest of the week was fairly uneventful until Thursday. Kim is still recovering from a broken finger, and then was quite badly bruised and lost skin from her good hand due to a collision with a tree (and stopping a fight with a German Shepherd). As Kim tells me, she had given it a wide berth (currently Theo is quite nervous around German Shepherds – which I think is due to a related incident in a training session – but that’s another story). Unfortunately, despite Theo being on lead, the German Shepherd was off-lead and stopped and started staring at Theo. Unnerved by this, Theo barked and lunged towards the dog. Kim slammed into a tree between them and prevented the dogs from fighting. In true sports reportage, here are the scores just in:

Tree – 1
Kim – 0

As my brother (un)wisely noted when speaking with Kim on a recent phone call, ‘the tree is always going to win‘. The good news is that I’m on annual leave from work and can give Kim a break to rest her legs (and her hands) for the next few days.

The week ended with a trip to the vet’s for an annual booster vaccinations and Theo’s birthday.


Theo and the pinecone


Theo playing with a pinecone at dog communication class.

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