Guess who went down faster than the Titanic on her backside in the mud whilst walking the two evils this morning. Slid all the way down the steep path with not a lot of grace. Wet, miserable and fed up didn't even start to describe it and the resulting hissy fit didn't make me feel a lot better either.
Thing is........I'm sure I was pushed....
Saturday, 3 September 2011
I realised today that if Tilly was human that she would be the kind of person that has to turn the lights on and off seventeen times before they can go out the front door.
Hector, on the other hand is more like Ghandi, he gives everyone a second chance and believes they are worth it
Thursday, 25 August 2011
Bit of a strange week with the dogs. I'm thinking that maybe the weather sends them a bit loco, or maybe I just have beautiful but weird dogs
Tuesday was awful trying to walk them out of the estate on their road walk for the day. They acted like they had not been out for weeks even though they had been out for two hours free running in the morning. It took me an hour to get them walking correctly on lead. It usually takes me about two minutes to walk out of our estates so go and figure. As I sort of had lost my voice and was begging my will to live not to desert me I thought I would just do a quick spot of training in the field next to the airport. Hector just ran off as soon as the lead was unclipped and Tilly winded me by slamming me against the small fence bordering the field in a panic to go with Hector before I had unclipped her lead. I has to throw my lead at Hector to get him even to acknowledge me and I won't even tell you how many Hail Fathers I owe the almighty in the attempt to get something resembling a recall out of either of them. I gave up a bad job and took them home and did not speak to them for the rest of the night
Yesterday I let them off in one of their favourite long grass fields on the headlands on their second outing. It was very humid and rather than walk them for a way I can just let them exhaust themselves in one field and can track their position by an occasional heads up or follow the moving grass. Tilly marked two pheasants and Hector flushed them, with neither intent on catching them as it was just a play around. Tilly then went in to Dr Who K9 mode and was rigid, nothing moving except that nose of hers. I have her a good five minutes to work out where it was, the object of desire of that nose, before I went to move on. She refused to budge so I had to go and get her before Hector came slamming in resulting in me spending another five minutes trying to get him off whatever Tilly had scented. As I went to put my hand on her harness I just could NOT believe it. Beneath Tilly flushed flat to the ground was a hen partridge. My able and willing hound had been, and was continuing, to home in on what was under her with out a clue of its whereabouts. I would of give up all the lottery money in the world to have had a camera at that instance. Totally unbelievable and I wonder if anyone has ever had a dog do this before. I mean she isn't blind and has a hell of a nose on her so she just must be stupid!!
Today, their second walk on the road. Tilly spends most of her time cocking her leg instead of squatting until she is beating Hector on the lifts leg but no pee left marking. We get to the main road just short of the very busy bus stop in sight of everyone passing and Tilly decides she is going to squat this time on the bottom of the raised bank. Hector decides to go up the bank and mark over Tilly's spot except he forgets to wait until she has finished. Result is Hector pees over Tilly's head and she takes offence and a scuffle breaks out. They are firmly scruffed and separated and called a couple of first class buggers because if I wanted the hassle of having two badly behaved, spoilt brats I would of had kids............It did not go down well with the mothers waiting at the bus stop and I had no need to request "excuse me" as I passed as I think a leper would of been greeted with more enthusiasm in passing than a red faced, pissed off dog lady with two sulking dogs behind her
Only got tomorrow to go then I can get Colin to walk them :-)
Monday, 1 August 2011
Hector, at the age of eleven, is in his autumn years now. You might be forgiven for thinking that with age one would see a temperance of shall we say the less socially acceptable aspects of his behaviour. Whilst I no longer have the need to rugby tackle him every time he heads for an unsuspecting visiting agility judges legs (do I really have to tell you his intentions upon getting there?!) I do have to utilise the eyes in the back of the head routine, laced heavily with a dose of telepathic foresight. Even then, the old bugger still indulges in handing out lessons in humility and humiliation when least expected
Summer has paid us a fleeting visit and with the heat I indulge us with the infrequent treat of a Mr Whippy soft cone ice cream from one of the mobile vans that frequent our most striking and busy beach called St Ouen. Hector will wait patiently in line with me until our turn comes then he will sit and demolish his cone in about two gulps, much to the amazement and amusement of those around. I then have to try and eat mine as quickly as possible before he starts doing his river dance routine, looking quite rabid with his pendulous ribbons of drool.
There is nothing between St Ouen’s beach and the coast of the USA except the mighty Atlantic. When in a kind mood she is beautiful and gentle. When in a foul mood she is still beautiful but terrifying in her power. Huge breakers roll the full length of the beach flattening anyone showing lack of respect for her in their path. As a result, St Ouen is the main habitat of our local population of surfers. Surfers from afar as Australia and South Africa come to ride the tempest and, how can I put this, some of the nice young men are very easy on the eye even to this old bird. Of course I am not the only female around to admire the male totty, only the oldest and the one wearing the most clothes. When I see the gaggle of young girls and men trying to be coolly apathetic towards the presence of each other, the saying “youth is wasted on the young” really comes to mind. On this particular day I think Hector was of the same mind and decided show those around that this old dog still had some tricks up his collar
The ice cream van queue was rather long with people waiting their turn in little groups of gender. To abandon my intent of acquiring an ice cream for both of us due to the length of queue would have meant I would have had to run the risk of someone calling the RSPCA whilst I dragged Hector back to the van by his back legs. So we waited our turn. We were tucked in behind a little pack of four teenage (I presume teenage as so hard to tell how old they actually are these days) girls. As is the norm for attire their shorts reminded me of the big school knickers we use to hate wearing and their skirts more like the size of the belts we used to use to wear. Standing behind and just slightly to the side of these girls was three young lads trying their hardest to keep their eyes level with the ice cream van and not the golden limbs on display in front of them. Hector was loose on his lead besides me apparently disinterested in his surroundings and solely focused on trying to magic the ice cream van closer to him
I was just deciding whether to opt for a sprinkling of nuts instead of a flake when wham, one of the young girls in front of me turned round and with a south paw that would of put Mike Tyson flat on his back, landed one of the young men standing behind her right on the chops. Everyone in that queue and in the surrounding car park fell silent and I admit, even though I admired the precision of the wallop, I was, for a moment worried how the recipient would react. I mean this was a seek and destroy slap with no hint of hesitance and it made the young man take a couple of steps back and his mates jaws (along with a load of others mine included) hit the deck in surprise. You have to admire the sense of righteousness some of these young girls have and she justified her actions by stating clearly to the poor bloke “you do that again and I will floor you” Believe me, no one was doubting her intentions if he did. The poor bloke had now gathered his wits and jaw and was going very red shouting “what, what, I didn’t DO anything”. For a moment there was a bit of a standoff between the two groups and my first concern was to get my Hector out of the way should things turn nasty as I didn’t want him hurt in any melee
I then heard the fateful words “it was the dog, not the boy!” Believe me they were not the words I wanted to hear and I feebly looked around in the hope there was someone else standing around with their dog besides me. A couple had got out of their car and desperately explained what exactly had happened and it was then that I vowed that I would never, ever let Hector out in public again. My absolute turd of a dog had goosed the young girl. He had stuck his nose up what passed as her skirt and of course at feeling something cold and ascending in the wrong direction, the young lady had thought the young chap behind her had chanced his luck and acted accordingly. Hector, now realising he was the centre of attention, took this as permission to start clog dancing and talking to his admirers as only a Weimaraner can. Luckily people started laughing and my urge to tie him to the bumper on the drive home dissolved a bit. I mean just how many times can you apologise for your dog sticking his nose where angels dare to tread. What puzzles me is that he is not an inappropriate sniffer. Inappropriate poo eater, leg cocker and mounter but definitely not sniffer. I was lucky that after copious apologies to injured parties good humour was restored, just. He did get ushered to the front of the queue though, just to make sure no errant nose was stuck up any of the other bare limbs on offer. He even got his ice cream free, whilst I was too busy thinking how I was going to hose him, dremel his nails and do his ears big time when I got him home as punishment
It is a lesson learnt (yet again) on my behalf not to under estimate my dog as no matter what his age he is still obviously capable of indulging in a bit of slap and tickle J
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Only decide to prolong their walk once I am soaked, blown to blue buggery and pissed off
Only headbutt me when I have my tongue between my teeth
Only refuse to recall when I have an audience
Only return to me without recall only when in the posession of dead things and I have an audience
Only roll in shit/dead things when I have just washed their van crate bedding
Only try and fillet the next door neighbours cat when the next door neighbour is present
Only fart and stick their nose up the nearest bum when being admired by strangers
Only try and piss over the little dog when I am telling attending owner how good they are with "little dogs"
Only want an emergency poo at three in the morning
Only puke three in the morning
Only get me up to let them out three times for a pee when raining before they can decide they are desperate
Only cringe when caught out in front of an audience
Only want to go play when my program I have been waiting all week for is on
Only bark at the postman when I am getting changed and can't (won't) save him
Only give me kissess after consumption of shit/dead things
Only decide to chase the neighbourhood squirell when I am loaded down with shopping
Only act as if their puking/pooing is life threatening until we walk into the out of hours vet surgery
Only torment me
Monday, 23 May 2011
He is fine with the headland shaggy sheep with huge horns that run free, but the big buggers than inhabit the field along our walk have suddenly become a threat to him. It was bad enough when they were in the field that was eye level to us on the road as believe me, as a veteran of being knocked for six by a pretty little Bo Peep, I know just how confrontational rams can be. One particular ram would come to the fence and face Hector who was more than up for a spot of scissors, paper, rock believe me. The fact that there was the equivalent of three foot chicken wire separating the two of them made me nervous enough to persuade Hector that losing face to Mr Ram was a lot better than losing his dinner from Mummy. I did make it worth his while in the end but I am not sure how long the nail scrape marks will take from disappearing from the tarmac where I dragged him away.
Ever since he has started this vendetta and I am not sure it is purely one sided on his behalf, I have had to either rush past on the opposite side of the road past the field in question or go another way. The toady even located the new field Mr Ram has been moved to by suddenly doing the equivalent of the Goose Step whilst trying to home in on the air scent he was locating with his nose raised towards the heavens. Actually, having said that, if he Carry's on being a prize turd he might be seeing heaven a lot sooner than anticipated. He even tried to jump the wall from a stand still to get to it and I could not see over it (I'm five foot one and a half if I breath in on a good day). This was enough to make me realise he really has a problem with this ram.
Today, no problem, after risking arrest by being suspiciously peeping over every hedge and wall in the country lane, I relax as Mr Ram no present anywhere. Must stop this telepathic connection I have with my dog cause you know what they say.......don't speak so soon. The next thing I know I am face first down in the newly seeded hedgerow literally making furrow with my nose. I have used his harness today on the road bits as its too hot for halters and I do not use collars alone with having to walk the two of them together. The evil weed has used his full body weight against his harness to pull his plough like owner up and over the hedge to Mr Ram's new abode. The fact that the farmer was just giving it some hay did not make my appearance any more dignified or my language any less blue. In fact it is amazing how you can still swear and threaten instant punishment with a mouth as well as nose full of grass seed and soil. To make matters even worse, Tilly totally freaked and decided that she wanted no part of the proceedings and headed the other way, which would of been fine with me if she had not been attached to my other arm by means of her lead.
Without offending anyone, my two dogs literally crucified me for good this time.
So, returning to my original question under the heading of this post, do you think it's a testosterone problem between the two of them or a problem with Hector's behaviour in general? Actually, thinking about that question and knowing my dog, maybe I better delete this post altogether as I may not like the answer :-)
Thursday, 19 May 2011
Was really looking forward to a peaceful day today as Jersey had an extra bank holiday Monday off yesterday as, being the only part of English soil occupied in WWII, it celebrates it's liberation day on May 9th each year Although this is a very worthy holiday and long may it be celebrated it meant I had an extra day of Colin at home with Tilly. Was rather pleased to hear the alarm this morning knowing it meant cessation of hostilites till next weekend as Colin was back at work!
I thought I would take advantage of a lovely day by not driving anywhere but walking to our sand dunes with the two evils. They were quiet well behaved walking on lead with no halters (too hot) and even though Tilly did her usual river dance at the side of the main road, impatient at having to wait for the big, fast noisy things in the way to dissapear before she twitters accross, she controlled herself nicely hence I only had to get the "T" out of her name before she tucked herslef neatly behind me (this is usually an evil chance at trying to trip me up from behind mostly)
Hector never once tried to dislocate my arm thinking the cricket practice area is soley set up for his ball retrieving skills and the mad one was only borderline hysterical at the site of two bright orange bouys floating in the small pump station pond. Either way it was probably rather stupid of me start to relax thinking I would enjoy a peaceful walk
Got as far as the golf course, which was packed as per usual during working hours and Hector decides to do "jobs" on the top of a dune as if he particularly wanted an audience. Colin must of let him eat grass yesterday because this "job" turned out to be a long "job" of the stringy grass kind that needs a helping hand to be evicted. Guess I looked really normal chasing a dog around who has decided that making mum run around him in circles makes her look more of a turd that then one he is trying to omit Sheer determination made be grab it and bag it and walk away with some resemblance of pride at not falling flat on my face in it.
Decided to go over to the opposite side of the due to avoid anymore humiliation as there is this lovely big dune that falls away to a lake that mine love. Tilly, in her wisdom decides to start doing the wall of death run and runs right off the top of the dune and it was like waiting for the plop of the stone falling into the well to judge how deep it is, except the plop was screaming as it fell. I was just bellowing my opinion of her actions along the line of "you stupid ***** dog" when this lady appears behind me and asks if I am ok as she has heard me screaming (that was not me it was Tilly on her way down to terra firma) shouting for a dog called Fudge which definately was me but was not calling my dog Fudge but rather calling it a fudging dog if you get my drift.
Have to excuse myself to look over the edge of the dune to make sure Tilly is alive and well enough for me to make it down there and kill her for scaring me. When finally at the bottom and empty my trainers full of sand I put both the buggers back on the lead and decide to go home as I am getting that nervous tick that only arises when about to have a melt down. Just as I am about to get back to civalisation, Tilly decides she wants the stick Hector is carrying and Hector decides to push the point that not only mum considers her a silly bitch by landing her one, which produces more screams from her and another audience of dog walkers pulling their little darlings to safety away from the big grey thinkgs trying to kill each other and the mad lady trying to kill strangle them
They were walked home in total silence and I thought the second looks I was getting from other people was due to the vision of two beautiful looking dogs being walked by an equally stunning looking owner. Its wasn't the case however because when I did fannly make it home I screamed at the sight of me in the mirror as I keep forgetting not to wear lip gloss when there are loads of midges around as my lips looked like I had gone head first in the pick and mix
It was when Colin got home I got the headache as he was horrified at my response when he asked if I had had a good day
Monday, 25 April 2011
Summer has visited Jersey early this year. I'm not a great fan of it as it only brings me out in more freckles and attitude, but I am pleased that I can let my Hector in the water as he so loves swimming and it's warm enough for him to dry off quickly without getting too shaky. Great exercise for him and he will retrieve the ball all day if I let him
Tilly, on the other hand, refuses to swim, although being quite confident that she can walk on water when stepping off rocks or falling into reserviours. Latest has been climbing trees to get a better view of the ducks in the latter and promtly falling out of said tree into the drink. So I know she can swim, just that she prefers not to swim.
No its not a bird in a bush but a Weimaraner up in a tree LOL
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Thursday, 10 February 2011
We have had plenty of rain of late and I have never seen so much water on the land and running off it as I have this year so far.
Hector and Tilly were fasinated by the roof of the cave and at first I thought it was due to some feathered friends perched there or maybe some bats that I could not see or hear. As it was, the rain started to thin out and Colin and I decided to head back to the van when the dogs came flying out of the cave as if they had Hell on their tail. I didn't hear it but Colin said that the cave had rumbled at them. There was no fall or rocks or anything, but for whatever reason it rumbled it scared the crap out of Hector and Tilly. Mind you, Tilly was quite clever as she was looking up at the cliff top when she came out as she was looking for something on top of the cave that had made the noise.
Am pleased I was not on my own and am hard of hearing becuase I would of taken flight as well as fright if I was on my own and heard the rumble as Colin said it sounded as if a monster was going to come out of hiding in the back of the cave.
Friday, 4 February 2011
GETTING IN TTOUCH WITH TILLY
It is said that dogs do not have body awareness. Having a dog that will disappear at the sight of the approaching dremel and hide his head in the wardrobe leaving his backside on show, I used to subscribe to that theory. Hector, like most men, thinks if he hides his head in the sand then the rest of the world isn't happening. Then along came Tilly
From an isolated 18 month old dog with no mental or physical stimulation she became the equivalent of Jim Carey after ingesting too many E numbers. She was so wired from all her new experiences she used to shake and twitter from the moment she got up to the moment she collapsed of a night time. Most of her behaviour we managed to moderate though just taking her back to basics and giving her the experiences she should of had as a puppy. But a few problems persisted. One was her extreme reaction at being visually stimulated and the other was her sheer horror at accepting touch. The worst though was her total terror at the sight of the vet.
Whilst she craved attention it was as if the action of touch was so alien to her she did not know how to accept it or on what terms its intent. Whilst Hector would climb up on the sofa next to me for tummy tickles, Tilly would climb up me using her over-long claws as crampons and then wonder why sitting on my head did not bring the same sense of enjoyment as Hector was experiencing from his contact with me.
The frustration I experienced at trying to calm her down whilst experiencing different situations was awful. Sometimes it was worse for other people. On one occasion we were talking to a lady who had engaged our attention whilst at the same time whose appearance had indicated dinner time for her horse in the field behind us. Hector is solid with livestock, unfortunately Tilly was not. I was unaware that the rapid blackening of her eyes indicated the approach of said horse as I had my back to the field. It was only when Tilly suddenly went vertical whilst letting out such a long, blood curdling scream till the point she fell over flat on her back as if in a dead faint, that I realised Tilly had a problem with horses. The same reaction could be triggered by an unconscious hand lowered for a gentle pat on an unsuspecting hind leg of a sleeping Tilly
The absolute worst one though, was the vet. Tilly was pretty much a clean slate at the vet when we picked her up from the shelter. Unfortunately she was exposed upon her compulsory return to the worst kind of ignorance, that an animal can be controlled by force, at the removal of her surgery dressing after her spay. I will not go in to what happened at the hands of the shelter veterinary staff, but the result was an extremely phobic dog that could spot a vet or their surgery at 100 paces. A qualified behaviourist’s remedy to this problem was to make Tilly sit in the surgery waiting room, ignore the fact she is deafening everyone within a mile with her frantic squealing, peeing herself and shedding hair in distress. It was only the fact I needed both hands to pick up my dog and walk out of said surgery that I managed to keep my hands from off the behaviourist’s throat.
So, I continued to struggle with a dog that acted as if she was burned by touch, had a very effective visual and vocal tribal display (making the All Blacks Haka look as offensive as Swan Lake) at anything mobile, fast moving and, to her mind, coming her way and, finally making me need more sedation than her when approaching a vet.
Previous to Tilly I had purchased the Book on TTouch by Linda Tellington-Jones. When Beau had been a bit stiff with age he seemed to have appreciated my very amateurish attempts at TTouch. They might not have been effective in the way they were meant but we both appreciated the connection and closeness it brought both of us. So, in desperation I re-read the book. If I have one very big failing it is putting theory into practice. I am just not confident enough when it comes putting theory into practice with hands on descriptions in books and if I am doing it right. I can be pretty isolated in Jersey when it comes to the holistic approach in animal husbandry. I spent hours reading and practicing on Hector, who is always willing to do anything if he knows there is a reward at the end of it. I slowly gained enough confidence to try TTouch on Tilly, with moderate effect. I just knew there was more to this wonderful approach, if only I could tap into it with guidance.
Then one day I saw a huge GSD jump out of the back of a Range Rover next to me in a half body- wrap whilst at an agility competition
As it turns out the answer had been in front of me for quite a while. One of the ladies at agility was training to become a TTouch practitioner. She was the owner of two rescue GSD's, one of which she did agility with. I used to have to keep Tilly in the van at agility competitions as the stimulation of all the hyper dogs running around tripped her mind and people would flinch at her appearance, or should I say at the sound of her coming! If you want to be exposed to petty ignorance join a competitive discipline is my opinion. In a perfect world there would be only "normal" dogs and no need to think out of the box for any dog for whatever reason. I am afraid I became rather defensive at the attitude of some people as I really firmly believe you have people that love their dog and then people who love all dogs full stop.
To actually meet with someone who could answer my questions was amazing. As it happened, she was a TTouch Practitioner in Training and had been attending courses at Tilley Farm in England under the guidance of Roybn Hood, Linda Telling-Jone’s sister. I soaked up her calmness and she seemed to have an immediate connection with Tilly. What was even better she agreed to use Tilly, although at the extreme end of the scale, as one of her case studies. The most important thing I was aiming for was to be able to get her in to the vet without undergoing an session of ultimate fighting that ended up with both of us alienated from the other for a couple of days, as well as the vet needing plasters and brandy. Now I had the chance to turn that dream in to a reality
What amazed me about TTouch is that it was very much hands off at first. It concentrated on the dog becoming aware of its body in relation to the situation the people present and what it was experiencing (in Tilly's instance mostly hysteria). We started off our ground work exercises by walking a grid called a Labyrinth so Tilly had to be aware of where she was placing herself in relation to same. At the same time Tilly was being touched by a long wand that is actually a white dressage whip so she was on the receiving end of touch whilst not having to cope with the presence of person giving it, hence she took touch at face value and enjoyed the experience. She only had to concentrate on what she was experiencing with no other demands on her. I learnt how to moderate my body language and experienced the wraps as well as Tilly and half the time I don't know who benefited more me or my dog as I came away so relaxed. It was really amazing what could be achieved in a short space of time. What people must have thought of us as I walked my dog up the road in a full body wrap or head wrap just so I could walk her past the dreaded vet surgery. Colin took one look at my first attempts at a head wrap on Tilly and threatened divorce should he ever wake up resembling a mummy. There was plenty of deep breathing and lead stroking on my behalf and loads of contented sighs on Tilly's. I learnt a little and often am positive as did Tilly. When I found myself gently doing little Clouded Leopard touches to her without realising it or when she was lying next to me, I knew I had found something that not only worked for me and my dog, but was also mutually enjoyed just for the sake of it. It is not rocket science, which is important to me, and can be easily applied anytime and anywhere and with the equipment you have to hand such as your lead and a stretch bandage from the chemist. It treats both animal and owner and as with most things in life, you get out of it what you put in to it.
Of course the biggest success was actually getting her in to my vet for a check-up. She had never been for one before as it was too stressful for her. The only way we had managed previously, when she slit her throat open on barbed wire, was to approach her was in the car park and very quickly before she cottoned on to the fact it was the vet looking over her. Although I adore my vets, I think they drew lots at the mention of our name and took holidays around the time Tilly was due in for anything. Only my vet nurse (and old school friend) seemed to be able to do anything with her (chief tick plucker) and she has rescues too! Although not entirely happy and quite vocal, the whole point was she was actually IN the vet without causing a mass exodus of patients and staff. I am amazed at how little movements of minimal contact can have such a rapid positive response and this is in any sized animal. The thing that impressed me most is that even though to witness how quick and effective TTouch can be in restoring calm and trust in a distressed animal, it can equally be enjoyed with the family pet just for the sheer pleasure of it.
I would not have been able to progress without the help of my TTouch practitioner as she really did prove that practice is better than theory on this occasion. She is the picture of calm and acted as if my attempts of practicing touch pressure and type on her were perfectly normal. Tilly absolutely adores her and my vet is in (sneaking) admiration of her as Tilly as he no other explanation but to believe in a method he previously doubted. Some people will never know what it is like to feel close to tears to see your dog accept something that previously brought to them only terror. This is not just at the vet because when Tilly lay down and fell asleep at a busy agility competition amongst all the action and bedlam, I felt ten feet tall. I also find myself doing TTouches on other people’s dogs when just holding them or going in for a cuddle. Little ear touches are always welcome!
For me, having the tools to help curtail that adrenaline surge before it decides which way to swing, is empowering. Tilly is a very demanding dog and shows it at times by now pawing me for more TTouches when I stop, thinking she is asleep. Now that to me is a result and one more tool to enable Tilly to get as much out of me as I get out of her.
Many thanks to Briony Price, pictured above with Tilly in a half wrap, TTouch practitioner in training - Jersey. I now have help always to hand.