An ongoing problem/fun training.

I don’t know if any of you that read this has any experience of a dog that won’t recall. Zephy is doing great with his training on lead however, I can’t let him off the lead. If he see’s another person or dog he is off! And at a run no less. And I don’t mean it is people close by either, the other people/dog can be a mile away across a field and off he goes!!

As a puppy, Zephy would not venture far and he was always rewarded for being close and coming back. In fact, for a while he would walk to heel off lead regardless of what was around him. Apart from him beginning to mature I have no idea what else could have changed. I can’t recall the day this good behaviour changed. Unfortunately people don’t appreciate a rottweiler running at them no matter how friendly. He doesn’t jump at them or anything, in fact he goes up to them with his head down and his tail wagging. None the less, in effect, I have no control of him off lead. I would be devastated if anyone took his friendliness as aggression. Being the breed he is may cause him problems. Unfortunately, Zephy doesn’t know he’s a Rotti!

My other problem, occurs when he is on lead; He will sit, stay, lie down, heel etc but as soon as he see’s another dog and if I don’t have tasty enough treats he jumps about and cries at the end of the lead. He now weighs over 7 stone and is sheer muscle. I know he’s desperate to get off to say hello to whatever/whoever ย he sees but it doesn’t always come across as that to others. I have now purchased a halti headcollar and lead in order to help me control him sensibly without either of us getting hurt/stressing out too much. The aim is to have him on the halti for control but to continue with the positive reinforcement training.

Anyway, if any of you that read this has any advice (bar getting him snipped), I’d really appreciate it. Or if there is a good book/website/training video that you can recommend I will have a nosy at it.

Either way, the training continues and it is mostly a success. Echo is doing great at his training for agility. He seems to be really enjoying the different tasks. I have to work on his control but it is still early days and trying to keep it all fun for him. Will try to get pictures for you all one week.

Neighbourhood watch.

We can sleep easy tonight, the boys are back on neighbourhood watch:

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We still have a very sleepy Zephy but he has eaten all his breakfast and had a big gulp of water as well. He looks much happier now. We are off to see some point to point racing and dogs are allowed. We thought we’d take them both to get them outside and hopefully we can enjoy a picnic too. Happy sunshine day everyone!ย 

Zephy has returned

Zephy has been returned to us. He’s been well behaved and apparently very cuddly with the nurses and the vet.

I’ve been told that his hips and elbows look good so health wise he looks fab. Now to wait on the scores from the KC.

I am so happy to have him back. He is very unstable on his feet. I had to carry him in which hasn’t done my ankle any good! But it made it easier for the big bear. He made it to bed eventually:

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Cuddles with bear are just what the doctor ordered.

I have managed to get him to eat some of his dinner with extra water added in (rice and venison and a handful of dry food) as he isn’t interested in drinking. The only way to get rid of anaesthetic however is to wee it out. So in between his snoozes I’m trying to encourage him a bit. I think Echo is glad to have him back as well:

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Having a cuddle to make it better.

He should be feeling much better tomorrow hopefully. I’ve got some tasty meat defrosting for breakfast which should do the trick ๐Ÿ™‚

 

A nerve racking day.

So Zephy is at the vet today. He’s getting his hips and elbows scored. It’s the first time I’ve left him with the vet. I’m worried about him. I don’t know if he will behave himself and most of all I’m scared about the anaesthetic. Hopefully he comes round ok. I know I’m being silly, I’m a scientist. I should be more logical. But I really do love my dogs.

I fell down the stairs yesterday so I’m feeling quite sore. Spending the day cuddling with Echo until we get our Zephy back.

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First Agility class

Well we made it to our first agility class. The woman that runs it is lovely and she’s lucky enough to have her own purpose built arena for training agility! It’s fab. There a field next to the arena for training as well which means there’s lots of space to practice.

There are four of us in the class. Two working cockers, a whippet and a Boston terrier cross which looks like a puppy boxer! Very cute but being the smallest makes the most noise.

Our first class I think was a success. Echo was star of the class, he actually listened! He was working off lead for most of it and behaved amazingly. He was even used to demonstrate at one point.

We are starting off with groundwork and basic training and I have a list of training to do for homework. It’s great to have some proper guidance and the trainer made last night so easy. It actually feels like I can do it. Saying that, I tried to copy some of the training tonight in the garden and it wasn’t a success but we have to start somewhere I guess. I feel good that both dogs have a ‘job’ to work towards and they seem much happier now and I am enjoying them even more (if that was even possible!).

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A new Start

I have renewed my determination to train the dogs properly and actually tire out their brains not just their muscles. Apparently, tired dogs are happy dogs.

Ben had been taking Echo to obedience and now he has started taking Zephyr. It was Zephy’s first night last night and after his usual initial excitement at seeing lots of dogs, apparently he did really well. Ben was a bit skeptical about taking him but he said he was happily surprised by how well he did. My training so far has paid off!

I am starting Agility with Echo tomorrow night so I will let you know how we get on with that. I think he will do fabulously once he gets the hang of it.

As of yesterday, I have started with my new training determination. It’s not fair to expect my dogs to behave if I haven’t put in the time to show them how I want them to act. So, yesterday morning, I took Zephy out into the front garden (lots of noise and people passing, and cars and buses etc) and we did 15 minutes of obedience training before going for a walk around the block (all in all about half an hour of exercise). We did some heel work and ‘sit’ on the walk to keep his brain thinking. He has a bad habit of ‘protecting’ me while we are out, so he struts off in front and is reacting to all dogs and people he sees. It is getting to be dangerous as he is really big now! So, by keeping his attention and training him to ‘watch me’, I am hoping to distract him from the scary things and keep him calmer. I am doing my best not to had to his hype by keeping my lead loose and not letting my voice go up or my body language go tense. It’s exhausting! but so worth it.

I repeated the exercise again this morning but with 20 minutes of obedience in the garden and continued it out onto the walk as seamlessly as possible in order to keep his attention. We walked down one side of the street and back up the other. I let him have a few bits to have a sniff and a wander so he didn’t get bored but he was much calmer on his walk today. I think I am feeling calmer as well which helps. He only really stood up to attention once, a man was going by on a scooter which is new to him, so that’s a massive improvement. I just need to keep the walks short, calm and productive. Although I am dayshift tomorrow I am up early for the boys, so hoping to continue this training plan.

After Zephy gets a turn at training, it’s time for Echo’s walk. We are very lucky that we live very close to two different parks so Echo gets a bit of variation. I have been taking him to a park where I can just let him straight out the car to run. We start with a game of fetch and I make him ‘go out’ a distance and make him sit before throwing the ball. The trick to training a spaniel is to not let him know you are training him. The sit at a distance used to be impossible until I realised he would do it, if he thought the ball would be thrown. It works a treat. After fetch we then walk a bit round the park to let him have his own time. I do feel that if you want a dog to concentrate on you, you have to let them be a dog sometimes to. Once we have walked round the park a little bit, I bring Echo back into heel off lead and I do a series of changes in direction and some ‘sit stays’ and ‘lie down stays’ and recall etc as we walk back to the car.

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The last little bit is used for some fun, like more fetch or jumping over the low walls (only a few inches high) that surround the play parks, or I get him to walk along the walls (which will help at agility).

I have to say, I am really enjoying doing all this with the dogs. It sounds like hard work, and it is, but seeing how tired and settled the boys are in the house now and it’s only been two days (!) is just so nice.

 

 

(Yes I’ve partly given up on the sofa fight!).

 

War and Peace

I don’t know about anyone else but I find having two males in the house really hard work. One minute they are all loving and caring and snuggling, getting into trouble together and cleaning each other:

And the next they are fighting and trying to ‘kill’ each other and then huffing at each other:

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Zephy’s Birthday!

Well Zephy has made it to his first birthday! He was one year old on Monday and the difference in him is amazing!

To celebrate, the boys had steak mince and venison for their tea and Zephy had a nice walk out in the park:

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I do feel they were trying to take liberties though and I did catch them back on the sofa!

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“Well, hellooo”

Love my boys and here’s to many more years with them ๐Ÿ™‚