'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Recap of Christmas.

Well... this post is a bit late, but I might be slightly addicted to Skyrim. Might be. And if that were the case, I might be spending all of my time on it. Maybe.

So for six days over Christmas, my friend, Hatter, was here. She's been here once before for a weekend, so I was anticipating being able to move past the 'just deal with the person being here' stage quite quickly. And we did just that. For the first day, we did some simple shaping (go see scary "new" person), and although there was quite a lot of vocalisation and worried stares, she settled easily and didn't freak out too bad.

I forgot to take notes at the end of each day as I'd intended, but over the course of the six days:
- Vocalisations and hard stares grew less frequent, to the point at which during the final few days she barely made a peep unless startled.
- She played fetch with Hatter quite a lot, indoors and outdoors--though didn't bring the ball back to her.
- She nudged her boomer ball to Hatter, several times over the course of several days, so that she would throw the ball again for her to attack.
- She licked the filling out of a hoof that my friend held, rather than taking the hoof away as I'd expected to do (day five?).
- She played tug with Hatter! She regripped it and dropped it a lot, and certainly didn't want to engage in her usual high state of excitement, but it happened, on the final two days.
- For the final three mornings, Lola woke up Hatter with facial licking and nipping (the excited way in which she used to wake up me, and the way in which she still wakes up my mum if I take her in to see her in the morning). The first time she did it was very tentative; and then by the time the final day swung around, my friend informed me that Lola had woken her up several times during the night by licking her face.
- Starting from maybe the third (?) day, Lola licked my friend's hands and arms several times a day.
- On the final two days, Lola (very cautiously) licked Hatter's face. AND she also went up to her to actually initiate (light, non-confrontational) petting. Awesome.

Some things I learned (and in some cases, was reminded of) about Lola's specific reactivity:
- Hands coming toward her are scary; hands that are already petting her are lickable.
- People returning from the bathroom/hallway/getting changed are suddenly a new Threat that needs to be barked at.
- Excitement can very quickly become reactivity: the arrival of a Favoured Person turns someone she is tolerating the presence of into a Threat.
- People that just show up in "her" bed when she doesn't expect them to be there are a horrifying Threat. Similarly, people that get out of "her" bed when she has forgotten they are there (after a night's sleep) are, again, a Threat.

By the way, guys... Happy New Years Eve

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas recap.

The dogs are very tired, and very happy. I'm happy too.

Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos on the day, of the dogs unwrapping (read: ripping apart) their carefully wrapped toys, but they had a blast. They got two new collars each; they got the big box of toys we won from Bert (every toy individually wrapped); they got two water buffalo hide dog toys from my friend who stayed over; and finally, Lola got a brand new, much smaller, boomer ball. She's in love with it again.

I shoved a lot of leftover cooked chicken bones and meat from Christmas dinner into a pan, boiled for maybe five hours, and ended up with a lot of stock (and a lot of remaining meat). The dogs have had half a cup of chicken stock, half a handful of chicken, and a handful of food for dinner last night and breakfast this morning. They are in doggy heaven.

I got some dog-related stuff too (books: Brian Plummer's The Plummer Bible and Practical Dog Breeding, and Michael Brander's Breeding Working Dogs). I'll be writing up a big old post on how Lola and my friend got on (since said friend was here for six days over the Christmas period) tomorrow probably, and I'll also swing around and catch up on happenings in blogland  For now, some quick photos.

The collars are all absolutely gorgeous. Three are from fairytailcollars on etsy: the Dinosaurs on Lime collar, the Red Birds collar, and the Makin' Mischief collar. The other is from eBay. I'm extremely impressed with the fairytalecollars especially - they are just so beautiful, and the lime colour of the Dinosaurs and Mischief collars is really fantastic and vibrant.

Sunday, 25 December 2011


Merry Christmas, everyone! The girls have had a blast today. Hope you all have too!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Mostly Wordless Wednesday.

Photos are from a couple of days ago, when my secret santa gift arrived from a forum I'm on.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Get the Thing.

I've been thinking somewhat about my dogs' different play styles, and why they play like they do. They are fairly compatible when playing, which is good, but sometimes one will confuse or annoy the other. (Thankfully Jess is too tolerant to beat up Lola when Lola is being an annoying little idiot - which happens a lot.)

As shown in the last video, Jess is very into getting her teeth on a thing and holding it. I've only had limited experience with non-Jess staffies, and none with other beagles, so I don't know if that's a "breed thing" or a "Jess thing". To increase Jessie's excitement level and drive to get a thing, I push it in her face, smack her (lightly) with it, and when she has it I yank her away, nudge her with my feet, and generally force her apart from it. Whipping the toy away (a la flirtpole) doesn't work as well, but pulling her away makes her want to get the thing even harder.

I experimented, and when she and Lola were at the tail end of playing tug together, I grabbed hold of Jess and held her so that she eventually lost her grip. She stared hard at Lola, and when I released her she shot forward and almost trampled the pup in her desire to geddit. Not bad for an old dog, eh?

Lola will also hold onto a toy if she gets it (and has done since puphood - at six/seven weeks old, I played tug with her when none of her littermates were interested). But Lola regrips much more than Jess. Lola, when hanging from something, is much more likely to twist around and shake to try and rip/kill the thing. She's very much a terrier in that respect.

Playing flirtpole works amazingly for her because she wants to catch it, rather than hold it. It sounds like the same thing - but if I push a toy in Lola's face, she'll usually move away; if I move the toy away from her, she'll drive toward it. Jess tends more to be the opposite. Flirtpole allows her to rush after a thing, and to dislodge her from it, I pull it hard and whip it away as soon as possible. I think this is why Jess isn't hugely interested in flirtpole - because it moves away too fast, and Jess waits for it to come back to her.

Another note is that if I'm playing with the dogs with my hands (bad!) as opposed to a toy, the difference is pretty obvious. Lola will push her face into the floor, and then lunge at my hands to gently nip them. Jess, on the other hand, will open her mouth and sort of... swing her big head around trying to "catch" my hand. She's very unlikely to make contact with the skin, but she will grab and hold clothes if she doesn't have a toy that she can hold.

For Lola, excitement = chase, nip, shake and hold. For Jess, it's open mouth, grab andhold. I wonder why?

Sunday, 18 December 2011


Maybe it's not Christmas yet, but it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Wait, Lola. I'm supposed to light up the tree, not the terrier. Jeez.

Maybe Jess has been feeling Christmassy too, now the tree is up. Either that or the supplements (Yumega and Seaweed Conditioning Powder, alongside an increased dose of fish oil) I give her each day have helped loosen her up. (It's probably the latter, unless Santa is responsible, as she's been gradually getting more and more excitable lately.)

The old girl played enthusiastically for quite a while! She played tug with me and with Lola, chased her old cat chaser toy (she doesn't get nearly as excited for Lola's flirtpole as she does for her cat chaser), hung from a football like a pro (see: video); and she also nearly knocked me over when playing tug, bit my sleeve whilst we were playing the slowest shark, and nailed my knee with her dumb staffie face when I was walking downstairs and she thought it was prime time to zoom upstairs.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Best Spot.


The spot right in front of the heater is the best spot in winter. As soon as it is turned on, both dogs slink immediately over. They often resort to nudging each other out of the way, or just stretching out enough that they can take up most of the room (ahem, Lola).

If you're a human and want to get warm quickly, your best bet is to hug one of the dogs after they've been near the heater. You're shit outta luck for getting anywhere near it yourself.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


This was yesterday.

And this is today.

It's not easy to see, but Lola's nose (and muzzle) started to scab over... and then she decided it'd be totally awesome to rip it open again while I was trying to exercise her before university this morning.

I'm working on an essay at the moment that's taking up pretty much all of my time. The good news is, it's due in on Friday - which means after that, university is done until mid-January. Phew. I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone, and getting back into more regular posting.

Hopefully I'll also have actual stuff to post about, too. :)

Friday, 9 December 2011

Boosters and Bruises.

(Well, not so much bruises as cuts... but you'll see.)

Yesterday I had to take the dogs to the vets for their yearly boosters. This was the first time taking them both in together and... it was an experience.

Lola didn't behave as badly as I thought (she was very responsive to food, and only barked once at a boxer pup whilst we were waiting to go in; she didn't vocalise at the vet, and though she squirmed like crazy and tried to climb up me, she didn't try to bite him), but after we got out, whilst my poor friend held onto their leashes and I attempted to pay for the injections, both dogs were being awful. Jess was yodelling and howling and trying to scratch her way across the floor, and Lola was alternating between staring miserably at me and doing her whiny clucking noise. It was extremely embarrassing, to say the least!

But aside from that, Lola also managed--whilst I was trying to exhaust her in the awful, heavy rain and crazy winds (which left my legs and feet literally dripping water, once I got home), before we went to the vets--to slice open the top of her nose and one side of her muzzle. She also has a red bump above one eye, and a cut on the pad of one of her front paws.

The way it happened? Simple: I let her off lead outside with her have her boomer ball. Apparently the puppy can't control herself anymore with it, so once she's healed up she'll only get her boomer ball after a certain amount of time during her exercise, not at the start of it. Silly puppy.

Lola was feeling totally sorry for herself last night (booster vaccinations, a hurting face and sore paw will do that to even a Jack Russell), but she's fine today, and her muzzle and nose already look much better. Jessie's only trouble was that I didn't let her eat the boxer puppy or the budgie in the waiting room, or let her lick everyone to death (though she did get in a sneaky kiss to the vet when he unwittingly brought his face close to hers).

I also found out the dogs' weights from the Much More Scientific Than A Wii Balance Board weight machine: Jess weighs 13.75kg (about 30lbs) and Lola weighs 6.5kg (about 14lbs). As Jess is getting on in age and very rarely "plays" outside (she's never been big on playing outdoors, as it is), she has very little muscle, but she's nice and trim at the moment so I'd say 30lbs is about ideal for her. Lola has huge muscles in her back legs at the moment, but a tiny little bit more padding than I'd like on her ribs. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt as it's winter and she's less manic in the winter, but I'd say 14lbs would be her ideal if she had a tad more muscle, and a tad less chub. She's okay for now though (as I have the sneaking suspicion her currently longer, harsher, scruffier coat is hiding just how slender she still is), but we'll see!

I'll catch up with everyone in blogworld tomorrow!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

What's in the Box?

When I came home yesterday from spending the night at a friend's, I was greeted with two things: Lola, being ignored until she laid down, wagging so hard that she actually vibrated across the floor... And presents!

The photo of Lola wearing a hat (and feeling very sorry for herself about said hat) got second place in Bert's hat contest. Her prize and card arrived yesterday, so I opened them up when I got home. I apologise in advance for the dog hair all over the carpets - I forgot to vacuum the carpets before I opened everything, and didn't realise until afterwards that there was hair everywhere.

Inside the card:
Dear Lola, we didn't get this in your package so, now you get two things coming in the mail. First we wanted to thank you for entering the Hat Contest + secondly we wanted to wish all of you a Merry Christimas
Bert, My Vickie & the Crew

(Thanks so much guys!)

Even more exciting, for Lola, was the big, strange-smelling box.

What's in the box, puppy?

In the box was toys! A whole bunch of awesome looking toys!

Unfortunately for Lola, she won't get to play with any of them until Christmas (she was most unhappy about this fact). I'm going to wrap them all up individually, and they'll get them on Christmas day with all their other things. At this rate, the dogs are going to have more for Christmas than everyone else in the house combined!

Thanks so much for hosting the contest, Bert and Vickie!

Sunday, 4 December 2011


It seems like we've been a bit quiet lately! I didn't even realise it's been so long since I posted, oops. But there's nothing much happening here with the dogs, mice, or even with me.

Lola is working, verrrry slowly (because I'm super lazy now it's getting colder), on 'hold it' because it makes her happy. She gets all wiggly and dopy when I ask her to hold a thing.