Hope you all had a lovely holiday period and we wish you and your family all the best in 2017.
We had a peaceful and quiet break which we mostly spent catching up on bits around the house and taking it easy. Bonnie enjoyed the fuss of Christmas presents as well as walkies, treats and naps!
Even the degus joined in on the festivities and had their Christmas hazelnut treat!
For the new year I’m not one to make resolutions but I do like to set some general goals and also find it fun to look back on what I thought my priorities were in previous years and see how that has changed or if it has stayed relevant. So in no particular order here are my goals for 2017;
Continue training and socialisation with Bonnie
Continue learning about dog behaviour and training through self learning and possibly attend any local lectures, seminars etc
Add a pup to our family and raise it to the best of our ability
Be more adventurous – visit new places, try new foods, recipes and restaurants rather than sticking to old familiar, try new things in general
Live a healthier life – more water, veg, fruit and exercise, less processed and junk food
Do you have any goals or ambitions for this year? No matter what hope 2017 treats you well!
It’s been a few months since my last wishlist post so I thought we were due another one. Since today is the shortest day of the year for us in the northern hemisphere I thought I would share some accessories that might make those dark and dreary dog walks a bit more safe, fun and bearable until we start getting longer days and better weather!
First up is some reflective gear to help your dog be safe and seen in those morning and evening walks!
2. Hurtta Lifeguard Dazzle Harness and Hurtta Lifeguard Leash – If you walk a lot in dark conditions a reflective harness and lead set like this is great for making sure you can be seen. We have the training rope lead from Hurtta which we love (we reviewed it here) – it’s super sturdy, comfortable and reflective so I would highly recommend their products!
4. Kerbl Raincoat – This raincoat would be perfect for long haired dogs like rough collies that take forever to dry or for those really yucky days. Sometimes a lead walk just isn’t enough and a good romp around off lead is needed, when its wet and mucky out the last thing I want to do is give Bonnie a full bath and groom afterwards so this would be perfect to keep the worst of the dirt off of her!
5.Ancol Muddy Paws Jumper – For going into town or on lead walks on damp days where the “jumpsuit” might be a bit overkill, Bonnie would suit a lovely little jumper like this – of course in pink to match all her other things! She does have a few jumpers already but as they are Halloween and Christmas themed it would be nice to have a more generic jumper and it can also be used while the others are drying out.
6. Dog Drying Coat – This coat would be so handy for those days you get caught unprepared by the rain or even after a bath so Bonnie could lounge about and relax while drying rather than being subjected to a long and drawn out affair with the towel since we can never seem to get her fully dry when she’s got soaked!
Do you have any “must have” products to get you through those dark, damp and less than ideal walks?
This week I felt pretty tired, unmotivated and like I hadn’t achieved much but now looking back it was actually a pretty busy and productive week, funny how that happens! This time last week I got a new phone and I have been really enjoying using all the new functions and the camera on it, it’s definitely a big upgrade from my previous 3 year old phone and it’s nice to not have to always be bugging my partner to take photos or borrow his phone haha.
For this week’s walks we did a mixture of walking around our neighbourhood, into town, along the seafront and also to our favourite park Hazelbank to take final advantage of the summer opening hours as it now closes early at 8pm 😦 As always we are continuing our loose lead training, general focus outside and muzzle training.
Nothing too out of the ordinary happened this week on walks except 1. A small grumbly match between her and an off-lead lab but it wasn’t really anything to worry about and she came away easily 2. In Hazelbank while me and Bonnie were playing off-lead another off-lead dog came out of nowhere with owners halfway across the park and started a chase game with Bonnie. Thankfully since Bonnie was already in a playful mood from playing about with me she didn’t take offence and just had a bit of fun with it, but it was really difficult to get them to stop and the other dog’s owners didn’t attempt to call it back or even walk closer to help out.
I have been having a lot of fun with recording videos especially slow motion as it’s so fascinating to watch things slowed down! The first video is after a few attempts at learning a switch sides cue while walking. And the other two are just fun slow motion videos 🙂
We bought a frisbee this week to see how Bonnie would react and if she would like to chase it as when we first got her she didn’t really know how to play at all. As you can see below she didn’t quite get the appeal!
Our office took part in the Macmillan Cancer coffee morning on Friday and we baked some chocolate brownies to contribute. Bonnie tried her best to convince me that she deserved a brownie too – sorry Bonnie but not a chance!
We went back to Pet Warehouse NI to buy more Nutriment as she is really getting on fab with it. We have had no upset stomachs yet since switching her over so fingers crossed! She did great in the store but we got ambushed by a man who encouraged her excitement and when we said sorry please ignore her we are training rather than him acknowledging that and backing off, he instead encouraged her jumping, petted her and asked what she was training for and asking us to clarify multiple times. God I was so mad as both me and my partner tried to make it clear that we didn’t want to be disturbed but anymore we are just going to walk the other way than try to explain ourselves. When we came home we ordered a slip lead and customised vest/jacket thing to hopefully get the message across to ignore us as her little training bandanna is quite hard to notice so we will do a post on those items when they arrive.
Later that night I had a little chilled out grooming session with Bonnie (cutting her nails, trimming her hairy feet, brushing) and I thought it was adorable that she feel asleep between my legs afterwards although my legs were starting to go numb hanging off the sofa as I didn’t want to disturb her haha
Today we don’t have anything too exciting planned – we are going to have a relaxing day since tomorrow I will be starting my dog behaviour course(!) which means I have a 14hr day ahead so think I’ll need the energy for then! Hope you guys all had a great weekend and are refreshed for the week ahead!
So after the eventful start to our week we had a quiet Friday then yesterday we had a little outing to Wallace Park which we had never been to before. We didn’t have an idea of what to expect but we went with the intention of playing Pokémon Go as we walked around with Bonnie as we had heard it was a Growlithe nest! As you can see below Bonnie wasn’t the biggest fan haha
It was a lovely little park and we had no bad incidences with other dogs or their owners or children so it was quite a pleasant walk. There was a little event on and there was a small petting farm set up which had the loveliest little donkey – Bonnie was okay until she was about 5 metres away then she seen it walk and look towards her so she got a little spooked, but she recovered quickly bless her.
There was a small pond at the park and as we all know Bonnie is not a fan of birds of any type and would chase them all day long if we let her so we decided to do a bit of training around them. She did great and was able to disengage on her own even only 2 metres or so away from the ducks but I accidentally let her get too close and she stuck her head through the bars of the fence to try to get at them the cheeky little monkey!
Afterwards we stopped off at Pets at Home (yes that dreaded place I said I didn’t want to support any more) as I wanted to buy a new antler for Bonnie and I don’t know anywhere else around us that stock them. Bonnie was fixated on the animals in their enclosures as usual but was very good around the other shoppers which there was quite a few of even though we specifically went near closing time to avoid others.
Needless to say she was pooped the rest of Saturday. Today we didn’t do much out of the ordinary except I started doing some mat (tea towel actually xD) training with Bonnie. I started just by reinforcing settled behaviour on the mat such as slow breaths, leg kicked out to the side, laying on her side and resting her chin on the ground. Then I started adding small distractions like crossing my legs, drinking water, playing with my camera etc with the aim of eventually being able to use the mat in higher distraction levels such as sitting at a dog friendly café. So there we go that was our week, hopefully next week won’t be as chaotic!
Again this week wasn’t too eventful for Bonnie as we have just been concentrating on training around our day to day walks rather than going to new places which makes it a bit boring for the blog but a lot better for our training. The weather has been really warm and sunny this week so we’ve been avoiding mid day for our walks so it’s not too hot for Bonnie.
We have seen a massive improvement on focus around people and other dogs which was always something we struggled with as she’s a bit of a frustrated greeter usually. We are also making brilliant progress on loose lead walking too, we were using a flexi lead before as she seemed to have lost confidence on our normal lead probably due to some bad experiences she had on it. But recently we have had great success with her Hurrta lead now (reviewed here) and she can walk past other dogs confidently while on it and her pulling (which was never too bad but annoying when there was a really interesting smell or people ahead) has eased off considerably since we started consistently turning around and walking the other way for a few paces once she pulls. We still use her flexi when in wooded areas to give more freedom – still need to get a new long line!
Bonnie started a new behaviour this week – she started offering her paw to get her nails clipped. It was really nice to see that she was so comfortable with it. Unfortunately it took a turn for the worse as she must have flexed her nails when I was clipping them as it hit the quick, she gave a massive yelp and there was blood everywhere. We rushed to get the cornflour to stop the bleeding, I felt so bad but she didn’t hold it against me at all and wasn’t scared of me or the nail clippers which was a big relief as sometimes bad experiences imprint on her.
We’ve been working on improving her confidence with strange objects as she is usually scared of people holding things like sticks or anything like that. As we are part of a reenactment group we recently got (blunted) swords and so we have been using them to desensitise and counter condition with lots of tasty treats. As you can see in the photos she just got bored and was like who cares, where’s my treat xD
Since we hadn’t really taken many photos this week I decided to take a bunch while on our walk on Saturday.
This is our favourite place to walk of all time, I really must do a separate post some time showing all the different scenery as there’s load of different paths to take, it’s usually pretty quiet and it’s just so beautiful – especially now that it’s dried up and Bonnie doesn’t come out covered in mud anymore!