You go your way and I’ll go mine!!

23 Jan

Walking Rudy and Rio yesterday in the snow through our local fields as I can’t get on to the hill, I wondered what other dogs are like on a walk? I mean my 2 run like crazy, so fast and cover so much ground so quickly and often in separate directions, it can be tricky to keep track of them both!!

Listening..for 2 seconds!!

Listening..for 2 seconds!!

The first 2 fields lead across to more open land but there is a small lane at the end that when the roads are not covered in snow would be used sporadically for local people and farmers to access their homes. So really I need to get Rudy and Rio back and either put them on their leads for a few minutes or get them listening to me and walking to heel just while we cross the lane.

They have had about a week of not too much training and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly they get out of the habit of listening to instruction!! They are so excited to be galloping round in the snow they find it really hard to calm down sufficiently to take direction and actually do as they are told!!!! I had to make them sit for a minute just to relax then we tried both walking to heel.

I knew they only had to do it for a couple of minutes but guess they didn’t so they lunged around, 1 trotting off too quickly and having to be called back into line, 1 trying to dive headfirst into the hedge after a smell etc etc etc!!! To say it was frustrating was an understatement!! We kept going though and I just wished they could be calmer and WALK not run everywhere!!!

Ring leader??!!

Ring leader??!!

We made it into the next field and I let them go again and they had a lovely time in and out of the hedgerows, tails wagging constantly!! They really are such a happy breed of dog it makes me smile every day!! At the top of this field there is again another lane and Rudy has a habit of ducking through the hedge and racing into the opposite field. Not every time, but too often for my liking so I have to keep an eye that he doesn’t shoot under there. Of course there was no traffic here either so no danger from vehicles but the dogs SHOULD listen and not do as they like!!!

Rudy shot under the hedge and Rio followed so I whistled and bellowed and they pretty much came straight back but I wondered do other peoples dogs always have to push the boundaries and do things they know are wrong?? Is it Rudy leading Rio astray? They are like 2 naughty schoolboys!!! 1 daring the other into the next misdemeanour!!!

They see fences and hedges and gates as things to be ducked under, dived through, jumped over. They are objects of fun to be enjoyed at every given opportunity, not barriers to keep them out of places!!! No Rudy and Rio never just mooch along slowly and to be honest if they ever did I would think there was something amiss!!!

Image

Brrrrr!!!

22 Jan

Brrrrr!!!

Can we stop posing and go now???

Snowwwwww!!!!

21 Jan
Brrr

Brrr

Well after all the rain..we have now had snow!!! Rudy and Rio love it and are keen to get out in it at every opportunity so I get wrapped up in so many layers I look like a Mummy and off we go!!!

I walked with some neighbours friday around some local fields that before the snow were under water but are now a real winter wonderland!!! We had quite a few Vicar of Dibley moments..when you confidently take a step forward and plunge knee deep into a hole, thus losing your balance and pitching forward head first into said snow drift!! Cue much hilarity from your “friends” and much concern from Rio who rushes back to see you are still breathing whilst Rudy has heard his favourite sound..a pheasant screeching and had taken off in hot pursuit!!!

That being said we had a lovely walk and the surrounding landscape looked beautiful so we stayed  out til it was dark and all went home wetter and colder than when we started  out but all agreed it had been fab!!!

I dried the dogs when we got home and was surprised to see the amount of snowballs stuck to them!! Rio’s back legs were festooned with them bless him and I did feel sorry for them both when I saw that between each claw was more snow!! However they were not bothered and they soon got dry and warm. The exertion of snow jumping obviously took it out of all of us and we all crashed out on the sofa that evening!!

Rio intent on finding something!!

Rio intent on finding something!!

Saturday I walked with my good friend Cath and Fern over Gretton Hill. Again quite hard going as the snow was so deep in places where it had drifted and also your foot plunged down through the snow , hit ice, crashed through that and ended up filling your boots with freezing cold muddy water!! Oh the joy!!

At the top of the hill we bumped into 2 guys running (must be crazy) and offered to close the gate for them. The one guy looked like he was going to cry at the offer as he was planning to use the gate as a support before he collapsed!!! So we left him to it and were just inspecting some strange hoof prints in the snow when we looked up and saw 2 beautiful full grown deer run along the track behind us!!

Needless to say all 3 dogs had missed them as they had put a pheasant up from the bushes and were all going after that!! All in all it was a lovely long walk, the type that when you get home you feel you can relax and enjoy a snooze!!! So we did!!

Jack Frost…

16 Jan

The weather has been quite changeable over the last couple of weeks. After what feels like months of door to door rain we finally have colder frosty weather. I’m hopeful that means I won’t have 2 extremely wet and muddy dogs to contend with yet again!! I can’t count the amount of towels I have gone through in the past few months just to ensure my carpet remains cream and not paw printed in an interesting shade of brown!!!

I always think I have dried Rudy and Rio’s feet enough and if they walked through the house sedately it would probably be ok. But no, they charge through into the front room when I say they can as if they have been caged for a fortnight!! Everything it seems is SO exciting to them and the faster they can run the better!!!

So a deep breath is taken (me) and ever decreasing circles are run ( them) and I try to ignore the mud ’til later and it has dried and can be hoovered up. I figure there is no point raising my blood pressure to boiling point and really they can’t possibly know the trauma to my eyes!!

I walked with Sue and 2 of her dogs, Tallulah and Princess ( Yeah I know!!!) yesterday and we had had a sharp overnight frost that had yet to melt on the hill so it made for a very beautiful and picturesque walk. It was slippery in places but Sue and I managed to stay upright even with Tallulah trying her best to wrong foot Sue!!!

We came across patches of snow/ice which Rudy decided he wanted to slide along bodily!! He would scratch at the surface then launch himself down and skid like a child!! Princess ventured toward him wondering why this crazy dog would want to get any colder and decided against following his example!!

It was a lovely walk which we wanted to prolong but alas work commitments ruled that out so with regret we got back in our cars and left!!

Pleased to meet you!!!

14 Jan

Rudy, Rio and I have had some lovely sociable walks over the last couple of weeks!!! It made me realise yet again what social creatures us humans and our dogs are!!! Whether I walk with friends or alone it’s very rare for me to come home not having spoken to someone. All random strangers with one thing in common…a love of dogs of course!!!

I walked with my friends Fi and Jan last weekend and I don’t think we stopped talking for the entire walk, all 3 hours of it!!! You may remember Fi and her husband Dave have Digs their young Cocker spaniel so the 3 dogs had almost as much fun as us 3 humans!!! Jan is a seasoned Springer spaniel owner although she is currently “between” dogs due to work commitments so she dog shares with  whenever she can.

Rio, Rudy and Digs

Rio, Rudy and Digs

We slipped and slid our way round Cleeve Hill and ended up screaming with laughter at the weird , wacky walks we have attempted in the past!!! Jan recounted a horror story of a walk she once took with her long suffering hubby and their dog Rolls. She recalled they had undertaken a hilly walk and had been on the go for several hours when the terrain suddenly became almost unmanageable!! So steep and rocky that they both ended up crawling up the bank gripping the sliding rocks with their bare hands, nails breaking and much blaspheming colouring the air!!

They finally reached the summit but before they could make the last scramble to safety they heard hushed voices and Jan looked up to see a family walking along the top of the hill, on the proper path, on the level, no stony crags to scale, no sweaty brows, all walking sedately along and wondering , whispering, why these 2 crazy people had chosen to climb the hill almost vertically without mountaineering gear and safety ropes and hadn’t just taken the clearly marked footpath like everyone else!!!!!

I'm sure the sign pointed this way!!

I’m sure the sign pointed this way!!

We all had a good laugh at Jan’s expense and to this day she still doesn’t have a decent explanation!!! Obviousy I can’t say anything as I am a frequent faller!! It doesn’t matter what the terrain, weather or anything else I can fall over / trip / slide down banks / catch my foot on a fence…the list is endless and can be extremely embarrassing but hey I’m hoping no one recognises me in my DWU!!!!

Two steps forward …and 3 back!!

10 Jan

I really enjoy training Rudy and Rio and usually we get some pretty good results as their breed, Working Cocker Spaniel, are naturally intelligent and keen to take instruction.

With that in mind we were doing some more recall whistle work and heel off lead etc the other day and all was going extremely well. Both dogs had had their free run to blast off some energy at the start and were enjoying the work. Yes I thought I’ve got this sussed!!! I tried something new but it didn’t quite happen!! I don’t know if it was because I didn’t show them clearly enough what I wanted or if it will start to sink in when we try again?

Basically I asked them both to sit and then tried to make Rio wait while Rudy walked to heel with me. Hmm…Rudy happily came but so did Rio!!! So I sat him again and tried to take just Rudy but again Rio came!! His little face was a picture!! He looked quite upset at being left out!! It was pitiful!! We tried a couple more times then I let him walk with us too and he was so happy his tail wagging frantically from side to side!!!

So back to the drawing board with that one for now but usually when we come back to something they seem to remember the idea and we will probably get on better next time!!! It certainly keeps me fit having to go back and forth so many times but when the penny drops and we achieve something new, the feeling is amazing!!!

Anyway just as we were walking back along the track in the direction of the car and I was cheerfully congratulating myself on the huge improvement Rudy and Rio had shown, a pheasant screeched from miles away. I was not quite quick enough to call the dogs back and quick as a flash both had ducked under the fence and shot off across the field heading for where they thought said pheasant may be!!!

Despite me calling and whistling repeatedly they were both struck stone deaf and carried on regardless!!! There followed a period of about 3/4 minutes when I was just stuck waiting for them to come back, whistling at intervals and getting madder and madder by the minute. Then I started to get slightly concerned as I couldn’t actually see them even in the furthest hedgerow but there was no way for me to get to them so I just had to wait…and wait…and wait!!!

Sorry Mum!!!

Sorry Mum!!!

Eventually I saw Rio coming back across the field but no sign of Rudy. The next minute Rudy appeared from a completely different direction!! Both dogs were shattered and I have no idea how far they had run but suffice to say the walk ended pretty abruptly then!!!

A horrible experience and one which made me realise dogs have their own minds and their own wills and they are not always going to listen to me when their instincts take over!!

“A” Grade students…or Class clowns??!!!

8 Jan

For the past couple of days I have concentrated on quality walks rather than quantity. We have walked locally around Winchcombe and Sudeley Castle and incorporated lots of simple training . We usually start the walk with Rudy and Rio off the lead in the field so they can do what comes naturally!!! When they have had about 20 minutes free running and covering the ground like their lives depend on it, I rein them in a bit and calm them down enough to be able to concentrate!!!

Fun time

Fun time

We did lots of heel work off lead sometimes with one dog either side of me and sometimes with them both on one side. They are surprisingly good at this..I say surprisingly,  as regular readers will know what terrors they can be for pulling while ON the lead!!!

Rudy was positively angelic tip toeing along practically against my leg while Rio took advantage of being on the outside and managed to sneak ahead by a couple of paces!!! I’m sure passers by would think I had tourettes as I hiss, click my fingers, tut, growl and mutter at the dogs to keep them sharp and listening to me!!! I figure if I keep nagging them vocally it will become “white noise” and they will become immune to it so I try to vary things and it does actually seem to work.

I see their ears twitch when I hiss and they slow down and come back into line with each other and me. Every time I stop I ask them to sit. This always starts in the same vein…I stop. They stop. I say “sit”. They stay standing. I say “sit” again. They remain standing. I hiss/ tut/growl/stamp my wellie etc and finally the penny drops and they sit, albeit begrudgingly!!!

After a while this process speeds up and usually one or other will get really quick and sit as soon as asked while the other will take the view that they are safe for an extra nano second to stand and look longingly into the vast empty field next to us!!!

When we have done enough of the heel work Rudy and Rio get to charge about like mad things again interspersed with whistle recall work which they love!!! They can be running full tilt along the track side by side seeing who can run fastest ( Rudy!!) and I give 2 blows of the whistle and they turn together, in synch as if attached at the hip and come running back  towards me at the same speed, waiting to see if I am going to ask them to stop or send them past me.

A couple of sessions of this and we resume some heel work or some sit and waits.  Depending how much time we have after doing the sit and waits together  I try to get them to use their brain even more by asking them to both sit and wait then calling them to me separately. This can be fairly hit and miss!!! Usually they both still come together so I have to take them both back and sit them and not go as far away before telling one to wait and calling the other to me.

You have to see the funny side as I call Rudy who is vacantly looking around and Rio who is hovering just above the ground desperate for the command to come!! I call Rudy and Rio comes and vice versa!!! Eventually if we get one right we celebrate… me with a woop woop and them with a bark!!!

I really enjoy trying to teach them new things but have learnt little and often is the best approach and if you don’t expect too much you won’t be disappointed!!!!

All that training's hard work!!

All that training’s hard work!!

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