Big update

Well hello again. I have finally got a quick chance to upload all of my pictures and let you see what the boys have been up to. I’m doing it all in one post a it’s a bit easier for me to keep track of what I’m writing.I had my first exam for my MSc on Friday so of course I wasted plenty of good study time being out with the dogs. We’ve had walkies, agility, coat buying, hair cuts, and a visit from a lost dog and yes I’m guilty, the Christmas tree is up!

So as I think I’ve discussed before. Echo hates being brushed. It is one of the few things he will bite us for. So to save us all from the stress, he gets shaved every few months by a friend of mine. She has her own dog grooming business and owns spaniels of her own so she happily has Echo for a visit. He always looks so handsome after a visit:

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Following this visit, this is where the new dog coats come in. Although Echo is the dog that gets groomed, I have been asked if Zephy could advertise the dog grooming business. He is quite a head turner (even if I say so myself!) so if the logo is on the jacket it might help advertise for them. Since I have agreed to advertise, Zephy has had a nice new jacket bought for him at no charge to me! So it was only fair that Echo got a nice new cosy coat as well (the price tags are still on in this pic as I’d literally got int he door!):

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Since Echo is shaved for winter it was only fair to get him a nice fleecy lined waterproof jacket. He seems quite happy with it. I need to keep him warm before agility too so he’s not jumping around on cold muscles and joints so it’s quite a useful little cosy coat. Zephy hasn’t got to wear his coat yet as it is off being stitched. His isn’t lined with fleece but he’s so big and overheats easily that he only needed something that was waterproof. He looks great in it though. I will get proper pics once we have the coat back.

 



ATTENTION!

You need to give me attention. Now please.

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How can you say no that face? I had been night shift and I always get made to feel guilty. Love the big bear.



AGILITY!

I managed to get Ben to come along to agility and sit in the cold and attempt to take pictures so I could let you guys see a little bit of what I’ve been up to with Echo. Unfortunately Echo moves so fast he is just a black blur in the photos. The first pic with the coloured dots is so I could explain what order we were jumping in:

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The order of jumping was: Up the line of purple/red, Right into the blue end of the tunnel, Over the two green with a sharp left over the two blue jumps and into the orange end of the tunnel (which we are doing in this pic) and then down the row of red/purple. It’s a small but technical exercise.

So, it was quite a few jumps all at once and Echo loves a tunnel. He seems to be quite good at the jumps and tunnel combos. I need to really work on his weave as I’ve taken too long at one of the stages so now he is struggling to move on in the exercise. He has a bit of trouble going away from me as well but that will hopefully all come in time with practice and perseverance. Anyway, here are some more pics of us running about like numpties:

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The last pic shows Echo clearing the last jump and then getting rewarded with his treat ball. The whole thing has to be controlled fun. Sounds dull, but if he gets it all right and follows the instructions he gets his treat ball. If he misses jumps or doesn’t follow where he is going or if he is down right naughty and wanders off he doesn’t get anything. So he works really hard to get his reward. He is expected to work out some things himself as well. you can’t lead a dog through weaves etc on a course so teaching them that way doesn’t help. You can see him working out what I’m after and the second he gets the exercise right he is rewarded and given a big “yes!”. All the exercises start with the very basics. The first exercise Echo learned was to go round a jump wing. Just a single wing. And look at him go. The instructor is great! I love it. His wee face lights up when we get to the arena and he spends the whole hour just manic.

The good thing about one to one time with Echo (bar the obvious giving him attention and bonding etc) is that Zephy gets all the attention from Ben and a good run about too:

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“I can fly!”

Might get Zephy trained in agility one of these days. Just the jumps and maybe the tunnels. Only for a bit of fun though, he’s to big to be competing at agility properly. Don’t want to damage his joints.



PLAYTIME!

I had to share a couple of pics from the boys playing tug of war in the house. Their eyes are almost popping out of their heads they get so excited! I love how much they love life.

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Look at the sheer ecstasy in those faces!

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I don’t think his pupils could get any bigger!


 


LOST DOG

I was on my way back to work after lunch last week and I came across an old black lab just walking himself down the street. I looked around and couldn’t see anyone with him so I stopped the car further down the street and waited on him to catch up. He came trotting right over and hopped into the back of the car. A person on the street saw me and came to help. She called a friend of hers as she thought it may have been the friend’s neighbours dog. Unfortunately it wasn’t. The dog only had a choke chain on and no tags. If he’d been tagged I would’ve just dropped him off at his house but alas, not everyone is following the law. Luckily for me, my manager is a dog man. I took an hours annual leave and I went to the vet to get the old boy scanned. He was chipped but his microchip wasn’t registered anywhere. Typical! My only option was to call the dog warden. They were very good with the old boy and took him to a local kennel. I called the kennel the next day to find out if the owner had appeared. Bizarre story, but apparently this dog was adopted from that kennel 12 years ago! And luckily they have the owners details. They think the old boy is about 14 and apparently he is a bit of a ladies man, so he finds ways to escape to take himself for a wander (another reason to have tags maybe?). Good new is, he was home safe and sound the same night I found him so alls well that ends well.

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Another new walk

I was tipped off to another set of walks I could take the boys on. They are both kept on the lead. Echo wouldn’t go far but he taunts Zephy so easier to keep them both on. We walked up the paths in the glen for a good hour before turning back on both Saturday and Sunday. It was a lovely morning both days. Very relaxing.

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Lola

Not much to say about this picture….Seems to be a common position for our family dogs:

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We can learn!

This is proof that my dogs can learn and do as they are told if they really put their minds to it. Bizarrely this is one ‘trick’ they’ve always managed to do despite food being right in front of them. When I put their dinner down to them they are told to ‘leave’ and they wait until I say ‘okay’ before they tuck in. I’m not sure I managed to teach them it but wish I could apply the same technique to a few other things!

Zephy also, occasionally likes to tell me he’s enjoying his tea:

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“I love it mum!”



The Christmas Tree!

Well it’s nearly the season. I don’t normally put the tree up this early. It usually goes up about a week before Christmas and is down before my birthday (it’s on the 1st of Jan). But for some reason, I was quite excited about Christmas so the tree is up!

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…and now we rest

All this excitement…time for a nap:

 

It was nice then it was not.

I was backshift yesterday and I’m the same again today. I managed to get the boys upto the woods yesterday thinking it would mean when Ben gets home (yay he is home this week!) he wouldn’t have to go too far. I literally park and open the car and off the boys go. It’s great. Until Zephyr disappeared. Unfortunately, he has taken a liking to trying to find deer. I don’t think he really knows what they are though. Anyway he disappeared long enough that I thought I was going to have to call Ben to tell him I’d lost the dog! Fortunately the big oaf appeared looking all pleased with himself. I don’t think he found anything, but he certainly went scouting. For being so big he can suddenly go quiet! Well he spent the rest of the walk on the lead because I couldn’t trust him to come back. But I think he enjoyed the walk. Managed to get a few pics of them in the woods:

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The boys didn’t find any deer but I did:

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The advantage of being tall, I can see further than the dogs!

It also amazes me how big Zephyr is now. I obviously bought Zeph knowing he was going to be a big dog (you don’t get a rotti expecting a terrier) but seeing just how much he’s grown in the space of a year is amazing! Another wee comparison photo for you:

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The rain has not stopped thundering down since last night. I went out not expecting it to be quite so horrendous but I was soaked through! The rain was freezing and I didn’t have a hood on my jacket because I thought “ah I’ll be fine”. Worst mistake ever:

 

The three of us were shivering when we got back. I must buy new waterproofs for the boys I think! Echo likes a little towel wrapped around him when he gets in. So to warm us all up a little, I had some hot juice and made the boys some warm gravy to have on their breakfast. We are all cosied up in the house now. Echo is about to go off and get his hair cut though! It’s about time he was shaved. Happy Rain day everyone!

More fetch

So early morning fetch and night time fetch are essentially the same thing now. I have found another place to let the boys off that’s a little bit safer again. The school football fields only a 5 minute walk from the house. It’s not completely enclosed but there are a few more natural barriers in the way. The plus side being that it is not lit at all. And most sensible people don’t go there in the dark. I have timed it in the morning so as to not interfere with the dog walking of another walker, he walks his dog at 6 and is just leaving the field as I arrive at 25 past. It works out quite well. The boys love a chance to get off lead to play fetch and have a good run. Playing fetch is really helping Zephy’s concentration and it makes me his centre of fun when he is off lead. It doesn’t always work like that. Like humans, my dogs have complete personalities/priorities of their own and do tend to just bugger off as they please. BUT the fetch thing seems to stop that happening quite as much. I find it quite funny that I’ve never had spaniel before and I was stressing that I didn’t know what to do with one; and now I’m teaching my Rotti to be a spaniel because I know how to deal with that better than a run away Rotti!!

Anyway, I managed to get a picture in the torch light of them. I’ve been using the torch to keep an eye on the tennis balls. I think I may need to invest in one of these light up things. Picture is a little blurry but who can keep my two still when they are playing!

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Night time fetch

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We played fetch in the dark tonight over in the park. They both loved it. And now it’s bed time…look at that wee face. Isn’t it heartbreaking. I haven’t ¬†moved my seating position in the office for 2 hours so I don’t wake him. It’s so nice for him to be still!

A good weekend and start to the week

So I’ve had a really good weekend with the boys (Ben as well). On Saturday I took Zephy to the Working and Pastoral Breeds Association of Scotland (bit of a mouthful) Championship show. We got a first in his first ever yearling class! (Yearling is for dogs over 12¬†months and upto 24 months, it is common practice to keep your dog in the lowest class you can so it is better matched). Zephy is now coming upto 19 months old so he can no longer fit into the Junior class which is for dogs upto 18 months old. So going into the show I thought, maybe the dogs he’d be up against would be bigger, better etc but they were all very evenly matched. There should have been 5 dogs in the class but only three of us showed up. But still really happy we got 1st out of 3! It was a close call, in fact the dog that got third is actually the dog that got 2nd ahead of us at Crufts. So it gives you an idea of just how much of it is down to a judge’s preference. Anyway, A good start to the day.

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“Give me peace woman!”

We had a lazy afternoon, with me as always avoiding my uni work (because that’s a very helpful approach), Ben took Echo for a walk in the afternoon and Zephy just snoozed, a show day is always tiring for him. With it being the 5th of November I do try to have the boys back in the house before the big fireworks go off, although luckily mine have never been too upset by them (which is a bonus since they go off almost every night in october and november!). I always take them out in the garden to play fetch just before it gets dark and I keep playing for a bit even after a few fireworks have gone off (why people set them off in daylight is beyond me). It seems to work because they are so focused on playing fetch that they don’t seem to mind the bangs.

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If some of the industrial size fireworks go off Zeph does look up at the ceiling in the house, he knows they are in the sky but he just goes back to sleep. Unusually, Echo was a little bit more unsettled this year than previously. He was very snuggly. I think he felt safer getting some cuddles. . Yes those are my minion pyjamas….

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“Hold me”

On Sunday which is now an agility day, Echo had great fun at class. I will need to try and entice Ben along to sit in the cold to get some pics of Echo running a short course. He is amazing! (Obviously I’m biased). He is almost at the point of being able to weave. Just have to keep practicing. It is one of the hardest things to teach a dog apparently, but he’s getting there. I then went back to bed Sunday as I was nightshift Sunday night so need to have at least a few hours sleep.

I meant to say before, I was always feeling guilty about how much time my dogs spend in their cages. That’s really down to Echo being the type of dog he is. If he is bored he will eat things. Well, I counted the hours one day, including time over night and with me being at work on dayshift, it was a horrible amount of time. I felt aweful. So, as of last week, the boys no longer go into their cages at night. They now sleep in the kitchen, hall, outside our bedroom. It has been great! I put their beds down at night and I don’t make any fuss. I just decided one night that they would sleep there and that was that. They seem so much happier now as well, and really settled. I think it’s been good for the two of them. If I get up in the night, I’ve stumbled upon them snuggling up together to sleep. It is so sweet! Still not ready to leave them out while I’m at work/out etc. But I have halved the amount of time spent couped up for them. Once we have our own house, I hope to get rid of the cages completely. If Echo was more trustworthy we wouldn’t have had them at all. The only advantage to them being used to cages is for shows, where it is safer for them. But yay, Victory!

After such a long weekend, and yesterday doing as little as possible. I only left the house to walk the boys which was nearly a disaster. While out, I walked through one of the housing estates and a little white terrier made a break from its house straight for the boys and went right for them. It was so aggressive! Mine were obviously on leads but I was trying to keep Zephs head up away from the little bugger, and allow Echo enough lead to move away. I managed to get a foot on the little white dog and gave it a little kick. Not too hard, because I didn’t want any of them hurt. But it was better me giving it a kick than Zeph getting his teeth round him. The owner of the wee dog came running out after it. And (I’ll be honest I was very judgemental in my head, looked a bit of a scruffy type, thought oh no here we go) the owner was actually very apologetic. They had been trying to leave the house and the wee thing had snuck out the door. He managed to grab hold of it and apologised again. I feel bad having thought the worst! But I’ve not had a good experience with dog owners in the area.

Well after all that excitement over the last few days, good and bad, this morning I woke up and thought “Do I really have to walk them again!”. I know that’s bad, but it is tiring! I decided to be lazy and drove the two of them down to the beach where I can just open the car and set them free! Was lovely, we played fetch and now they are at my feet while I type this and then I promise I will get on with this essay I’m writing….

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Nightshift sleep over

I was nightshift again on Wednesday so, since Ben is away, the boys went to stay with Auntie Lola. ¬†She was thrilled….well maybe not the right word to use! She was harrassed more like it. But the boys had fun. They had free run of the garden and are now exhausted. I had them down at the beach this morning to get a wee play:

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“Come in the water mum! It’s refreshing!”

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Tennis ball?

I think the rest of the day will be a sleepy day:

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Sleepy time

Last Sunday was definitely a lazy day for us all. I am not complaining! Echo in particular has been very clingy of late, and he insists on being really close while he sleeps.

 

I am going to be in trouble for sharing that pic of Ben, but  I love it!