Tag Archives: Cockerspaniels

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!!

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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!!

Share and share alike!!!

5 Jan

Every time I buy toys or chews etc for Rudy and Rio I always buy 2. I assume they will want a chew each? Or will play with a toy while the other plays with their toy??? But no!!!! They get their chews and lie down facing each other and look at each other while guarding their prize!!!share

To be fair Rudy usually starts his chews first and Rio hovers on the periphery looking longingly at said delight, waiting , usually in vain, for Rudy to chew a piece off and cast it aside at which point Rio moves in, ninja style and whips it away to devour it behind the curtains!!!!

I don’t know why Rio doesnt want to start his own chew?? It’s not like he doesn’t have his full quota of pearly whites!!! Yet he much prefers to loiter incognito doing circles round Rudy who growls quietly whilst not breaking contact with said chew. Who knew rawhide was so appealing??!!!

My friend Jan gave the dogs a Xmas present each. They ripped the wrapping paper off quick as a flash revealing an identical bone each and a different toy for each. Rudy promptly stole Rio’s frisby disc and took it under the table and gave him the death glare if he dared to come close!!! So Rio settled for the  green rubber ring donut and led looking woefully at Rudy!!!

Honestly I lose track of the number of times I find myself telling them like children to “play nicely”!! And after a while they do play together but then we return to the whole putting the object of desire just in front of their paws and daring the other to come closer!!! Who knew you can growl quietly through gritted teeth for such a prolonged length of time!!!!

Play nicely!!

Play nicely!!

The thing is I know they love each other really and if any other dog starts on one of them while we are out, the other rushes to his defence!!! Hmm a bit like me and my older brother when we were kids!!! It was always ok for him to torment me for hours on end but God forbid anyone else should try!!!! He soon made them see the error of their ways!!!!

Stop thief!!!

6 Dec

Rudy and Rio have always displayed symptoms of kleptomania, socks that disappear, a shoe brought to you lovingly when you arrive home, washing that they can pilfer as you are folding it..you name it, anything is fair game it seems!!!

Kleptomaniac tag team!!

Kleptomaniac tag team!!

They both go crazy trying to out do each other with their “gifts” on your homecoming, tails wagging like mad almost propelling themselves round the room!! Whatever Rudy has in his mouth he has to be side swiped by Rio til he lets go and Rio can claim the gift victory!!

Chews, bones, socks, magazines, newspapers, toys, laundry all lovingly offered albeit rather the worse for wear, warm and by now slightly damp round the edges!!

Even if I have just popped upstairs and come back down they both dash about finding things. Is this a purely Spaniel trait or do other breeds do the same??

One lunchtime this week as I ran round madly trying to get changed into DWU  ( Dog Walker’s Uniform) to get Rudy and Rio out for their walk I searched high and low for a missing sock!! I knew it was in my bedroom as I had taken them off there so why couldn’t I find it?? Frustration grew as I muttered to myself about how ridiculous it was to be walking round in one sock etc etc, so finally I gave in and stomped downstairs to find a spare one only to find Rio, bless him, trotting round the front room happily with said sock draped decoratively from his mouth!!

How kind I thought as I grabbed it off him and started to put it on so he then took himself off into the hall and brought me a mud covered trainer!!   “No” I bellowed so he dropped it on the carpet whereupon all the dried mud cracked and scattered everywhere!!

Finally we made it to Cleeve Hill and dodged the flooded car park. We set off and I noticed a fair amount of Golfers enjoying the sunshine. Towards the end of the walk Rio found a tennis ball some poor dog had lost and claimed it as his own. I don’t take balls out with me when I walk so to see him trotting round with the ball in his mouth made him look slightly odd but he was happy so who am I to spoil his fun??!!

I threw the ball a couple of times and both dogs chased after it and brought it back then they soon got distracted by the gorse bushes and left the ball for someone else!

A moment later as I walked towards the Golf Club which heralds the end of the walk, I heard lots of shouting from behind me. I didn’t think anything of it , just thought it was a Golfer celebrating a good shot. Well… it was a Golfer only they weren’t celebrating so much as berating me and the dogs as Rio had taken it upon himself to “liberate” a golf ball one of them had fired down the hill!!

My face burned and I felt a giggle brewing but first had to get Rio to drop the ball!! Luckily he did so immediately and bounded back to me very pleased with himself!! I was walking with Fi and Dave and Dave being a Golfer declared that it can’t have been a very good shot anyway and that actually Rio had done the guy a favour by moving it closer to it’s target!!

Yeah I could go with that so turned and waved a cheery hand at them and we walked briskly on!!! I’m sure it can’t just be my dogs that commit theses public faux pas…can it??

Hole in one??

Hole in one??

Look who’s talking!!

2 Dec
Hmm is she calling us???

Hmm is she calling us???

We all know you are not meant to shout at your children and that they respond better to a calm voice and reason but sometimes it seems only a screech will do!!!  Well it appears the same is true for dogs!!

Calling them to you in a nice kind voice will usually work better than a bellow!!! However it’s hard to remember the basic rules when you see them heading towards potential danger or you have called them 3 times already and they have become deaf!!

Lulu

Lulu

My friend Sue has a recall issue with Lulu her Tibetan Terrier. She is not usually able to let Lulu off the lead to have a good run with other dogs because she wont come back when called!! Her ears twitch so you know she has heard you and sometimes she even stops to decide what she is going to do… you can almost see her brain working things out. ” Hmm I really want to carry on running through this field to chase the rabbit / play with Muffin and Princess / see how far I can get before I drop in a heap… but I can hear my Mum calling me.. Do I run to her or from her??!! She may have treats for me?? She may put me back on the lead!!” What a dilemma!!!

Anyway Sue has found an enclosed dog walking field near to where she lives and has taken the plunge lately and let Lulu off!! It has been a huge success and obviously it’s lovely for Sue to see her dogs having such fun, running around and playing with other dogs.

Until……. some pesky children had left the gate to the dog walking field ajar!!! Lulu and Princess were running off the lead and Sue probably saw the open gate at about the same time as Lulu did!!! It was a race against time now!!! Lulu spotted her escape route and went for it hotly pursued by Princess. Sue called them both…then called again and both ignored her. She shouted at Princess who then stopped in her tracks and came back. So now she just had to stop Lulu!!!

She shouted at her and saw Lulu do a half halt and think over her options ( see above!! ). Unfortunately she decided she would rather carry on and risk Sue’s wrath. After all she was already being shouted at so why come back?? Sue realised she needed to calm herself down and after a few deep breaths called her in her best sing song voice while reaching into her pocket for a treat.

And lo a miracle occurred!!! Well ok maybe not a miracle but Lulu turned and came running back to Sue, tail wagging , happy as could be!!

I think we have all  been in scary situations and reacted accordingly, then realised the shouting scared voice doesn’t encourage the dog to come back. In fact it probably scares them away!!!

I always take a whistle out on walks to call Rudy and Rio back as they run so far away from me on their travels!! It works well and saves using the “wrong” voice!! However I have found that you can actually blow your whistle in an angry way!!!!!! I have found this out twice this week whilst waiting for my little angels to come back!!! You can in fact grip said whistle between your clenched teeth and blow til u pop the button off your jeans!!! Yes really!!!

Slip sliding away..

28 Nov

Slippery slope!!

We have had so much rain lately, both in Britain generally and closer to home that walking Rudy and Rio has become like a Boot Camp Survival challenge every day!!!  Everywhere you try to walk is so wet and slippery that I am often found poleaxed and prone on the ground after yet another Olympic standard fall / slip/trip/slide while Rudy and Rio are as athletic and graceful as ever, completely sure footed and steady.

The dogs are able to run at the same speed ( flat out ) whether they are going up hill, down hill or on the flat!! How do they manage that and still stay standing? Some of the hills they sprint down are so steep I expect them to end up rolling down instead but they never do.

On one walk on Cleeve Hill I remember a lady rushing up to me quite upset because she had seen 2 dogs racing to the edge of the hill and disappearing!!  I calmed her down as I explained that yes they had gone over the edge but that they did it regularly as part of their walk and that in a few minutes they would reappear tails wagging furiously happy as could be!!

Rudy

I must admit that when you see the inclines they tackle it does make me wonder why I have such trouble staying upright just crossing a flat wooden bridge? This triumph of human (in) stability happened not so long ago when I took Rudy and Rio to Cheltenham Racecourse fields for a walk. It is a very popular place for local dog walkers and you usually bump into someone you know to have a chat to.

Anyway the ground was quite wet as always and we approached the wide wooden bridge from an adjoining field. The dogs were happily off exploring and I walked down a slope to the bridge thinking to myself that it was probably quite slippery so I should be careful.

Hmm as I reached the edge of the bridge I decided I should jump onto the bridge to avoid a huge puddle. As soon as my first wellie clad foot touched the bridge it skidded straight back off and then I found myself literally flying through the air both legs higher than my head ( no mean feat ) before landing with a massive thud on my backside!!!

Of course my first thought was that I hoped the people I knew were walking behind me hadn’t seen as I tried to get up!! Rudy must have heard so he came rushing back to see what was going on, saw me laying on my back, figured I must be ok as I was gesticulating wildly and promptly ran back off to scour the hedgerow again!! Rio didn’t even bother pretending to be concerned!!

I struggled to my feet and soldiered on tears springing to my eyes and limping madly so we could continue the walk. I whistled the dogs as by now I had no idea where they were and they both came crashing out of the hedge greeted me gleefully and headed off again, apparently not noticing that I was now walking with a stoop and slightly off centre!!

The bruises from that walk lasted a few weeks but I must admit if I had seen someone else do it I would have found it hysterical!!

Murphy’s Law

10 Nov

Beautiful Cocker similar to Murphy

Again today the sun was shining so I raced home to take Rudy & Rio out at lunchtime. Cleeve hill seemed appealing again so after a quick change (me) and much leaping around the furniture (them) we set off with great excitement.
When we arrived at the car park I saw a friend just setting off down the path with her beautiful chocolate Sprocker Murphy. We have met on numerous occasions and I have always loved seeing Murphy running alongside my 2. They make a lovely colour palette!!! Very autumnal!! Anyway Rudy felt he had to assert himself so pulled himself up to his full height (about the same as Murphy) and all his hackles went up while he strutted around!! Poor Murphy looked quite put out and after a few minutes they were all fine again.
We basically did the same walk again and didn’t really see anyone else as we walked at some speed.. I’m sure Murphy’s owner must be fitter than me as she wasn’t puffing and blowing like I was going uphill!! It was lovely to have some company and as we haven’t seen each other for almost a year we had plenty to catch up on.
On the way back to the car we saw 2 dogs..I think they were French Bulldogs but I’m not sure.  They came rushing at us at about 90 miles an hour to have a go at our lot and especially Murphy. It always amazes me that the owners of aggressive dogs always claim that they are “just playing” or they “don’t mean it” or today’s version “he has small dog syndrome”!!! Well Renee and Winstone let’s hope you grow out of it before we see you again!
Anyway other than that little hiccup it was a lovely if brief walk and clean dogs! Amazing considering most of the summer has been spent hosing them down after every walk which can’t be pleasant but they tolerate it albeit with 1 back leg held high in the air trying to get away from the freezing cold water… still their coats always look shiny.. guess it’s cos they’re worth it!!
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