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Where the Wild Things Are

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I have an eight month old Border Collie called Meg. She is far from perfect (and so am I).
Today she has been about 60/40 good. The 40 included chewing up my camera memory card which DH is sure he put safely on the mantelpiece. Every time I look down at this screen she takes a quick munch of the coffee table with her eyes on mine. This despite a 2 hour walk which included much in and out of streams.

needastrongone Mon 12-May-14 09:38:26

My dogs are fine at the minute, Harry still buggers off into the rape fields and pops up again randomly, but Hector continues to be a little poppet.

I have given up the KC Bronze though, my life is too hectic at the moment, and this new trainer had a rolling set of lessons for 6 weeks until she felt them ready to do the exam. Well bollox, Hector could have done the exam on the first week, I am not paying forever an a day for a certificate to tell me what I know anyway.

Harry is very good at agility - I am sadly crap smile

moosemama Mon 12-May-14 10:21:40

Thanks needa.

I'm not a nervous driver, but I am a nervous test taker! I drove for a couple of years and had my own car when I was 21 (a verrry long time ago) but gave up when I failed my test through nerves. Looked up some local driving instructors last night and have a couple to call, but lessons will have to wait until July as there's just no time - or money in the budget just at the moment, as we have a couple of very expensive months back to back. If we manage to sell our VW camper quickly, I will be able to book them sooner.

Caught Lurcherboy intimidating Pip out of his dinner again last night. Dh fed them then got distracted and left the room. hmm I was in the living room, didn't realise he'd gone and suddenly heard growling then munching. Went in and Pip was standing in the corner looking worried, while Lurcherboy scoffed his dinner. shock

This makes things very difficult, as the only way to ensure Pip is quiet when I go out is to give him his green feeder and kongs. At the moment I am having to put dining chairs across the middle of the kitchen as a visual barrier and giving Lurcherboy a handful of kibble in a kong wobbler and buster cube. I can't give him any more than that, as it's hard enough apportioning out the small amount of kibble he's allowed on his diet, but he's always finished it by the time I get back off the school run, which is usually 20 minutes max. If I put him in a different room he gets really stressed, as he's always been left in the kitchen when we go out and it's all he's known for 8 1/2 years.

Gah! Dogs, who'd have 'em - we must all be bonkers! grin

I am back in my own head a bit more this morning, with much more of a 'this too shall pass' attitude. Decided to go right back to basis with desensitisation and going in and out, increasing leaving times etc and just see what happens. I'm pretty sure it's not SA, but perhaps a concerted training programme, gradually extending the time I expect him to be quiet for is what's needed, so still worth a try.

needastrongone Mon 12-May-14 10:41:39

Do they go to sleep immediately after a long walk Moose? Could you time the walk so as to coincide with you leaving for the school run?

I am trying to think what happened with my two, as when we first got Hector, Harry was possessive over food, and pretty growly/snappy. Now, we can feed next to each other without issue (we don't, as it's nice for them to have peace from each other). I don't remember doing anything consciously, but clearly Harry is now desensitised as he doesn't care.

Can you give Lurcherboy all his meals from a frozen Kong, to increase the time it takes for him to eat?

moosemama Mon 12-May-14 11:11:24

I already do that most days. Their longer walk is in the afternoon and I get back just in time to make myself presentable for the school run. It's the best time for giving them as much off-lead running as possible. Lurcherboy would sleep, but Pip's a cat-napper. (He rarely sleeps deeply, being highly-strung by nature, he's up at the slightest noise or movement, so would still need something to keep him busy while I'm out.)

Lurcherboy has never been like this about food before. In fact he would let our two bitches take his food off him. I'm considering asking the vet to run some bloods, as he's just ravenous all the time and constantly looking for food to steal. He didn't used to go anywhere near human food, but now we have to be really careful, as he's stolen off the kitchen table and last week off my plate when I went to answer the telephone.

He's always been really lazy with kongs and refused to touch frozen ones, but will finish off ones that have defrosted and Pip hasn't finished. That might be different now he's such a greedy pig though, so I'll give it a try.

I've been looking for a senior/light kibble to feed him, but we can't afford to buy two bags of good quality stuff every month and a lot of the lighter diets are full of junk. We did discuss attempting to put him on raw again if we can find a way of managing the freezer space and I think that would be the best option long-term.

Honestly it's such a tricky combination of circumstances to manage, but we'll muddle through somehow.

Off to do a much longer morning walk now - to try and work of some of Lurcherboy's (and my) excess pounds!

moosemama Mon 12-May-14 14:16:43

Had a fantastic walk this morning. Was able to leave both dogs off lead together and they played really nicely for a change. Pip was full of beans, running laps of the field with Lurcherboy in hot pursuit - beautiful to watch and hopefully very good for Lurcherboy's waistline - but I had to put him back on lead to make sure he didn't overdo it. I have to remind myself he's still a pup sometimes. (Measured him at the weekend and he's now 28" tts.)

Timing's off for my afternoon walk though, as Lurcherboy's had had enough and couldn't manage another one just yet.

Pip's been a lot calmer after all that running and has actually been asleep in the kitchen with the door shut for the last hour, so I think I'm going to have to consider the balance between free-running and joint care when it comes to wearing him out enough to sleep when I'm not around. He is a sighthound after all and they're bred to run.

needastrongone Mon 12-May-14 15:52:29

I am fairly sure that, many years ago, those dogs bred to work were doing far more than current guidance suggests smile

Hector does tons of free running. Probably 2 plus hours a day. Sometimes he potters next to me, sometimes he streaks around after Harry. He seems to self regulate his exercise so I don't worry. He's already lean and fit. Harry basically runs around like a loon for the full walk smile

I walked with a non doggy friend today, but the boys were fine doing their thing. I am usually far more interactive with them. They also sat quietly while I gardened at the front of the house or just pottered about. We are at the bottom of a cul-de-sac in a quiet village so they are safe.

needastrongone Mon 12-May-14 15:53:32

I love watching my two running too smile

moosemama Mon 12-May-14 16:57:11

I think with smaller, shorter legged breeds it's not such a big issue, but as you can see from the photo up thread, Pip is literally all legs! grin His growth plates are still open and I don't want to cause him problems later on.

I'm a member of a sighthound rescue forum and lots of people caution on there about not overdoing it with the free-running too young, as their instincts are to run and run at full speed and they can easily overdo it, as they don't know when to stop until they develop a bit more maturity.

Lurcherboy is far more sensible. He tends to potter around near me, sniff the hedgerows and trees and intersperse that with the odd zoomie here and there. Pip just wants to RUN, so I have to do lots of on-lead, off-lead stuff and training to keep him occupied and try and find the right balance. I do think I may have been a bit too conservative and he needs to be allowed to sprint a bit more these days. He's certainly been calmer this afternoon despite us missing our afternoon, before-school-run, walk so his second walk is going to have to be when dh gets home from work now and he doesn't seem at all bothered.

fanoftheinvisibleman Mon 12-May-14 19:08:40

Awww congratulations Fitz!

And Moose, I hope things get easier with Pip and his SA as he gets older. It must be tough to feel you can't leave him.

Maz has had his first day at Mums new house today without me as I waa back to work. I went yesterday whilst Dh and Ds went to the City game and I blocked the wrought iron gate with a wooden board and the wheelie bin as I said to them I thought he 'd be able to walk through it.

Anyway, mum had set off to take ds to school when my dad realises Maz had disappeared shock. Luckily his friend was there so my dad went one way and his friend the other. One direction is about 500y from a dual carriage way, the other leads to a track between two estates. Luckily he'd gone towards the track and greeted my dads friend with his usual joyful abandon. So glad I was unawares, I think I'd have gone to pieces. It is my worst dog related fear!

My dad has now Maz proofed the gate with a metal grid along the bottom. Hopefully that will contain him.

moosemama Mon 12-May-14 19:31:23

Oh my goodness fan, what a horrible shock. I'm so glad he was found quickly and all was well.

basildonbond Tue 13-May-14 09:30:35

Phew fan - glad nothing awful happened

Moose - your latest walk sounds lovely. I think you're right in that there's a balance to be struck between possible physical problems later and mental health now (for both of you!)

moosemama Tue 13-May-14 10:02:31

Real 'Lurchermen' don't let their dogs have very much free running until they're 12-18 months, depending on their size and Pip's on the larger side. Those that work their dogs (only allowed to use them for 'pest control' with the landowners consent) and are decent owners/trainers might let them go for 1 or 2 chases, but no more. They will run their heart out if allowed and there's all sorts of problems this can cause, from arthritis at under 5 years old, to cruciate injuries and even 'blown lungs'. Unfortunately their physical maturity in terms of ability to run happens well before they're psychologically mature enough to use some common sense and not do themselves a damage.

It's just a case of working out how much is enough, when it gets to too much and to add to the confusion, it's different from dog to dog, as there can be so many breeds in their mix. confused

I will just have to keep trying to fathom it all out, until we can reach some sort of balance.

NCISaddict Tue 13-May-14 10:04:23

Scary moment Fan. Glad everything was ok in the end.
Finn followed DH out of the front door the other day as he went to get cash from across the road (busy A road) He said he felt a nose against his leg as he crossed the road. Thank heaven that Finn decided to buck his trend and walk at heel!
It was a moment of sheer panic when I realised he wasn't in the house only surpassed by the time DS2 escaped aged 2 ,he went to view the roadworks which made perfect sense to him, not sure what Finns excuse was.

At least the house we're moving to is on a very quiet cul de sac so will be slightly better if he does manage to escape again. Fortunately he likes to stay close to us so is unlikely to head for the hills.

needastrongone Tue 13-May-14 11:32:14

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that you walk Pip more moose, I am sure that you are striking the right balance....

DS once did something similar when he was a toddler NCI; we were on our drive and I had turned to strap DD into the pushchair. I had said we were going to the park for a play, so he just set off. Trouble is, where we lived at the time, there were two routes. I chose the wrong route to follow him..

Luckily, he had had it drilled into him to stop at ANY road. So he did at the first one he came to, and one of our lovely neighbours had heard me shouting frantically and hopped in the car to find him, and brought him back. I was almost sick with fear. He was gone over 5 minutes, a lifetime to me.

Fan..scary, glad all was well in the end smile

moosemama Tue 13-May-14 14:50:59

I didn't think you meant that needa, I'm just kind of mulling it over out loud on the thread to get it sorted in my own head. All comments and suggestions are very welcome. smile

Just had another lovely walk. My sister came over to do the shred with me, so we did that, then had lunch together, then the dogs and I walked her halfway home and came back for a walk/run in the park. We had to go over the motorway bridge and Pip loved it! He was totally hyped up and excited by all the fast moving cars whizzing past - I hadn't really thought about it before, but I suppose he's designed to get excited and want to chase anything that he sees moving fast. He was very good though and stayed at heel, despite finding it all really exciting.

Lurcherboy wasn't as keen to give chase today after a longer lead walk first - and I suppose after yesterday's exertions - so they only had the one session of zoomies/chase round and round the park, but they're both suitably exhausted. Think the combination of a new walk with lots of smells, plus of course the super-exciting motorway, plus some off-lead zoomies was just enough to wear them out both mentally and physically.

I was very pleased in the park as I found I can interrupt Pip getting ott jumping on and harassing Lurcherboy by recalling him with the whistle. Haven't tried it before today, as I didn't want to set myself/him up to fail, but they were too far off for me to get their attention easily this time, so I gave it a try and they just stopped and shot straight back to me. grin

Exhausted now after a shred, swiftly followed by a great big walk.

needastrongone Tue 13-May-14 16:26:49

I bet you are Moose smile

I've been a bit lazy with training and interaction with my two this last week, and need to up this a bit.

Walking on my own with them tomorrow, which will help. And drive somewhere different.

Just walked in my new and expensive stable boots by Harry Hall, justified by the length of time I dog walk and do equestrian related stuff each day (or that's what I will tell DH anyway) smile

moosemama Tue 13-May-14 18:58:11

I don't think it does any harm to have weeks where you lean off the training and just enjoy each other's (not sure that's grammatically correct confused) company occasionally.

I'm really enjoying walks with my boys this week. Think it might have something to do with me feeling fitter and stronger generally, so I have enough energy left over to enjoy them, rather than walking the dogs because they need it, when I haven't really been well enough.

Of course the fact that Pip has finally stopped relentlessly harassing Lurcherboy and will stop when told, so they can both be off-lead together, also helps. grin

Boots sound good. I love my Merrely Taiga's but the stitching has come undone on the top on both boots. Had the first one re-stitched, now the other one's unravelled. angry So I'm back in my old MBT trainers for the moment while the cobblers have my right boot - and my leg muscles are telling me I haven't been wearing them enough lately. grin

insanityscatching Tue 13-May-14 20:52:12

Any tips for teething dogs please? Eric's a bit miserable and makes the odd whimper and hides his head under my arm. He's got a gappy smile just now.
It's dd's 21st today he decided to join us at the table.

mintysmum Tue 13-May-14 21:27:41

We had an unexpected success at training tonight. Minty is the most excitable dog there, always wanting to say hello to the others and barking.

Massive challenge for first time tonight - dogs and owners lined up in two rows with an aisle down the middle. One dog at a time was taken by owner to top of aisle, into a sit, stay, drop lead, owner to walk down aisle leaving dog in sit stay, then owner to call dog who would then run down the aisle to owner supposedly ignoring the dogs on either side, whose owners by the way were holding treats out to tempt the free dog.

We were 8th in turn and I thought we had no chance with excited minty, treats, dogs and off lead. Minty did his sit stay, waited while I reversed back (not confident enough to turn my back on him!), I got to end of aisle still saying 'stay' to him, everyone held out their treats, trainer said right call him now, I called him and he came bounding to me. Beautiful boy! He ignored the dogs and treats and bounded into my arms. So he can be good when he wants to be!

moosemama Tue 13-May-14 21:30:45

Have you tried freezing carrots and giving them to him to chew? Also frozen kongs are good, as is just about anything to chew on. Pip seemed to particularly love his split fallow antlers when he was teething.

Happy birthday to your dd. smile

(Just noticed, my previous post should read Merrell, not Merrely. blush)

basildonbond Tue 13-May-14 22:19:50

wahey - well done minty smile

insanity - yes to frozen carrots and antlers (we have used the split ones as they're easier to get going on to start with), and I've read about (but not tried) soaking a tea towel, twisting it then freezing

lovely, lovely walk this afternoon - took dpup and his best doggy friend to Richmond Park - they were both in canine heaven grin

moosemama Tue 13-May-14 22:28:46

Crossed posted earlier.

Clever lad Minty! grin

See, all those greasy sausage hands on your walks were worth it in the end! grin

NCISaddict Tue 13-May-14 22:39:17

Clever boy Minty!

We had a success on our walk today, I'd just got to where I let Finn off and had given him the command to go when I suddenly saw a couple with 2 GSD's off lead and a lurcher type on the lead. Generally Finn doesn't approach dogs who are on the lead but I didn't want to risk it this time as it was the beginning of the walk so he was fairly hyper. I called to him to sit, down and wait and he did!!! Then waited until I put his lead on. He then disgraced himself my pulling like mad to play with the GSD's who came up to him but loose lead walking is still a work in progress and you can't have everything. The owners said the lurcher is a recent rescue and doesn't like dogs he doesn't know.

Later in the walk I was able to stop Finn chasing a deer so a good result all round.

Still failing miserably at training DH though grin he still doesn't keep an eye on Finn on walks and just lets him do what he wants.

insanityscatching Tue 13-May-14 22:39:37

I have been freezing his chew toys and kongs and I now have carrots ready to go (never thought of that) I do feel sorry for him I never realised that dogs teethed like babies I thought it was a quick and painless event. He is enjoying the sympathy and extra fuss though. I'm sure he understands every word that's said to him, speak sympathetically and he whines but ask him what he's doing and he barks and tell him no and he grumbles like an old man hmm

moosemama Wed 14-May-14 09:31:05

Well done Finn.

It's interesting that they all seem to be making leaps in certain areas at the moment. Gives us hope, all these glimpses of the lovely well behaved dogs we're going to have when they've finished maturing.

insanity, poor Eric. sad I have never had another dog teethe painfully like Pip did. It's been barely noticeable in all my other dogs, but he really seemed to suffer. I guess it's like babies, some just seem to get it worse than others.

I love chatty dogs - could do with Pip knowing when to stop though - like when I'm not home. A little bit of volume control wouldn't go amiss either, but then why should I expect my dog to be any different than my kids. hmm

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