As many other dog owners can probably relate Bonnie hates getting bathed but she loves to have a little swim in rivers and streams. She also doesn’t care at all about rain no matter how heavy it is!
But one thing Bonnie has always had an issue with is the sea. The sight and sound of waves (especially noisy crashing waves on a windy day) would absolutely drive her mad. She would lunge, whine, bark and we couldn’t get her attention whatsoever! I had always envisioned taking my dog to the beach way back before we adopted Bonnie so I was quite disheartened.
We went to the beach maybe 3 times in the first year with her before we had all but given up hope. Instead we concentrated on getting her confident and focused in other scenarios and in the past several months it has really started to pay dividends especially as my own learning has progressed and skills improved.
Back in September on our trip to Portrush it was the first time she had been to a beach in ages, and if you have read that post you’ll remember how she embarrassed me on that beach! But hey at least I was able to get her back, I don’t think there would’ve been a chance earlier on in our training.
Since then though we have been going from strength to strength and have had 2 really successful beach trips – one in November and one at the start of this month. I uploaded the video below to our Facebook page showing the before (October 2015 and before we really hit our groove with training) and the after (November 16)
Our recent beach trip was the best yet and I was so so proud of her. She was able to be off lead without chasing the waves, chasing the other dogs and their balls or running away. She was able to focus, play with her ball and even stopped when I called her name as she was thinking of chasing the other dog. Also just before the video starts she was enthusiastically chewing on a bit of seaweed which I was able to get her to drop without any force and also could pick up her ball while she was playing with it to continue our play – these successes mean a lot to us as she used to resource guard food and toys, so lots of wins for us!
I really am so pleased with how well Bonnie is doing these days and I’m glad our hard work is paying off!
Tomorrow, on Halloween day, will mark 2 years since we first brought Bonnie home! It’s unbelievable to think how this little collie has changed and influenced my life ❤
This week was fairly uneventful except for the many fireworks let off! Thankfully Bonnie was not bothered by 95% of them and only barked at the loudest ones after being bombarded by them most of Saturday evening.
On Wednesday we were disappointed in the result of the Great British Bake Off final as we were rooting for Andrew – he’s from Northern Ireland too and such a fab baker.
With the fireworks and general festivities this week we didn’t have too many exciting walks to avoid putting Bonnie into any situations she couldn’t cope with but we did manage to get a nice trip out to Hazelbank park today for a good run around!
It’s such a beautiful park especially with all the autumn foliage but it is slightly ruined by out of control off-lead dogs. I wish their owners would respect others’ space, I just don’t understand how they can’t see that their dog is a problem when it won’t recall – if you don’t have a good recall use a long line! I used to be afraid of dogs and remember the feeling so well that I would never want anyone to be afraid or wary of my dog’s actions whether they are an adult, child, runner, cyclist, a reactive dog owner etc.
We tried being artsy and getting some photos of Bonnie on this fallen tree trunk but it didn’t work out so well and I somehow ended up standing in poo of god knows what type of animal xD
I spent another Saturday with the dog trainer and really enjoyed it again – I’m learning so much! I also had my first experience of holding onto a large breed while it tried pulling and lunging – thankfully I was able to hold my ground! I’ve only ever walked small – medium dogs before so I was very proud of myself xD
I’ll end this post with a very typical looking nail cutting scenario – note the packet of ham, phone used as a torch (black nails are the worst!) and plenty of belly rubs along the way!
I hope you all had a safe Halloween weekend and that your pets weren’t too disturbed by all the commotion.
These weeks just seem to getting more and more busy which has left me a bit exhausted but I’m learning to cope and I’m very happy with how things are going. I have a week long holiday in a few weeks time though so I’m really looking forward to that although we still have a few things we need to buy before we go away. Anyway onto what happened this week!
On Monday I attended the 2nd class of my dog behaviour course. I’m still getting used to Monday routines as it means a full day of work, having dinner in the office, travelling to class then getting home around 9.30 and by that time I’m ready for my bed! In case anyone is worried Bonnie is catered for as we have a dog walker at lunchtime and my partner arrives home at the normal time.
On Tuesday we worked from home and at lunchtime we took Bonnie into town with us to get some milkshakes as a treat (this may be becoming an awful habit xD). She wore her “Do not disturb” vest and it seemed to make some people aware. She was on her best behaviour and as we were heading back to the car we came across a westie that was barking and lunging at Bonnie while tied outside a shop. Bonnie startled a bit but kept her cool and walked beside me calmly then.
Then at the top of the street there was a woman with three dogs – one terrier type was again barking and lunging, but Bonnie still kept her cool. The woman seemed to purposely avoid coming near us so hopefully the vest is working! It was quite funny as some elderly women nearby seemed to be commenting on how well behaved Bonnie was in comparison to the two shrieking dogs xD Tuesday was a long work day and I didn’t get finished work until well after dinner time so I didn’t have any energy to do a blog post or progress on my assignments.
Wednesday was a fairly normal work day for us and I was finally able to do the blog post on the class and made some more progress on my assignment.
On Thursday I worked from home and had planned to go out for drinks with co-workers after work but that didn’t quite work out! At lunchtime I took Bonnie out for a walk but we had a bit of an incident with a wasp which was just inside the front door of our house. As you might know Bonnie got stung 7(!) times in total a while back now and clearly is still terrified of them.
We did a normal walk and when we came back to the house Bonnie wouldn’t go through the front door. I eventually managed to get her in but she went out to the kitchen and lay down for a few hours totally avoiding the living room and front of the house. Needless to say I wasn’t going to go out and leave her alone and terrified in the house so I sat with her to make sure she was okay and she eventually came around. Later that night I collected my partner from the night out and by the time we went to bed it was well after midnight!
Friday was a normal work day and I was pleased that I had finally got a project sorted which I’d been working on for some time. But with how busy we had been this week when we came back from work we pretty much feel asleep without even having dinner. Thankfully we had the animals fed and sorted and Bonnie was very accommodating and just snoozed with us!
Saturday was a very exciting day for me! Earlier in the week I had contacted one of the trainers who runs the dog behaviour course asking if I could help out or observe at any of his classes and events to gain more practical experience. He very kindly offered me the opportunity to come along to his classes on Saturday morning and also that I was welcome to attend his behavioural home visits afterwards. I couldn’t believe my luck! I set out to met at his house for 9am and we travelled down to the location for the classes together.
The first class was a puppy class and the puppies were absolutely lovely and the owners were really keen and did a brilliant job. We had a Newfoundland, a Chihuahua, an Akita, a Cocker Poodle cross and a Cocker Spaniel so was a good mix! A Mini Schnauzer didn’t turn up so maybe we will see them next week. The second class was for adult dogs and it was great to see the owners try their best especially as some of them were rescue dogs.
Then we went on to do three home visits which was really interesting to see different behavioural issues and solutions for those. All the owners seemed really keen and committed which I was really impressed with.I finally got back home before dinner time so was almost like another work day this week! I am welcome to come back again next week so we shall see if I can hack it!
Finally today on Sunday we travelled to Pet Warehouse again to stock up on Bonnie’s raw food and also some treats for her Birthday coming up on Halloween day! Then afterwards we went out on a lovely walk in a local park. It felt very autumnal and we had a blast with the frisbee – Bonnie is starting to get the fun of the game!
Needless to say we are taking it easy the rest of today! Hope you guys had a great weekend and are re-energised for the week ahead!
Bonnie’s first gotcha day (year since we adopted her) is coming up next month on Halloween so I’ve been thinking about what goodies to get her. I thought I would put together a few different wishlists with some ideas and although we won’t be able to get everything at once, we can use it as a shopping list for her gotcha day, Christmas and whenever we want to spoil her.
So going to start the wishlists with toys! I have included links to where they can be bought, no affiliate links, I just spend too much time trying to finding the best deals!
Chuckit Ultra Balls – Bonnie loves to chase balls but she tends to pick the fluff off of tennis style balls like the Kong Air balls and tear them up so hoping these will last a bit longer since there is no fluff to tempt her!
Chuckit Ultra Squeaker Ball – What could be better than a ball? A ball that squeaks of course! Bonnie just can’t get enough of squeaker balls and we’ve learned to live with interpreting TV/films over the squeaking!
Nerf Squeaker Football – Another squeaker ball, Bonnie’s best doggy friend Dougal has one of these, it makes the funniest noises as well as bouncing erratically so this should be a hit with her.
Rabbit Squeaker Tug– Yet another squeaker but this time in a rabbit fur tug toy. When we first got Bonnie she didn’t know how to tug and was very hesitant in using her mouth to take anything like dentastixs, balls and even her Kong from our hands. So to raise her confidence I’ve used clicker training to help her enjoy tug and hoping to increase her tug drive by using something a bit more interesting than a rope toy.
Rabbit Chaser Tug – Another rabbit tug toy but this one has a long handle so you can use it like a flirt pole and wiggle it around the ground to get a good game of chase going.
Squeaking Mouse Teaser Cat Toy – Yes this is a cat toy in a dog toy wishlist… But I’ll tell you now that Bonnie is totally obsessed with this. Another dog in our training class has very little toy motivation unless food is involved so the owner has tried all sorts of toys to see if he likes anything. So one day she brought this into class and brought it out to show us and I have never seen Bonnie so playful, she is usually quite reserved but she was really going for it! I think this will be brilliant as a reward as well as training impulse control.
I can’t wait to get some of these for Bonnie, she’s still coming out of her shell and learning to play with humans even now after being with us so long, so it always makes my day when we have a good play session together. 😀