'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

Friday, 23 March 2012

Friday Photos.

Yesterday, the new cages for the mice (pink for the girls; blue for Wheatley, though he can't go in his until he's a little bigger) arrived. The girls thanked me by throwing their substrate out of the cage overnight.

The photo makes it look smaller than it is - but it's a really decent size.

We also took Lola and Millie out, for a nice long walk to take advantage of the sunshine. They enjoyed it!

The walk got cut short when we reached a fence we couldn't go past without dogs being on lead (and no sign beyond that of a field where Lola, at least, could be off again) so we headed back. But not before finding what looked like a crash site for aliens...

On the way back, we saw a small, scruffy brown terrier that came out of its garden to bark at us. Lola, at first, was unimpressed; I backed up with her, hoping the owner would come out before she started barking, as I was out of treats. She did really well though, and only started growling a little when the other dog reached Millie. And then, weirdly, she started whining. Her body posture wasn't as tense as it usually is, so I let the leash go slack and she led me to the dog. She sniffed, wagged her tail, and tried to invite it to play. :) Good girl.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Mice: Wheatley update!

The dogs aren't doing that much at the moment, and the girl mice are awaiting their new wire cage to arrive so that maybe they'll get more social too, so I guess it's time for more boy-mouse.

I've got to say, I understand now why people say that male mice smell more. Wheatley's cage doesn't need cleaning, and it doesn't smell gross or anything, but there is a definite strong 'mouse' smell to him that the girls just don't have.

But he's so friendly. He's nibbled a couple of times (fingers, my [i]palm[/i], dressing gown, jeans, blanket...) and nipped hard once, but it isn't from fear or aggression - just curiosity: 'Can I eat this thing? How about this thing? How about now?'

Lola is very good with him. Obviously he smells more than the girls, and his cage at the moment is just on the living room table when I'm downstairs; but she pretty much consistently ignores him. Yesterday and today when he was running over my arms exploring, Lola was snoozing pretty much the entire time.

Jess, on the other hand... Grr!

I'm hoping she'll learn to ignore him soon, as she has the girls. And I'm hoping Wheatley will stop being nibbly and will become friends with Lola (though that might be too much to ask even from her).

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Mice: It's A Mouse House.

Yesterday, Wheatley's cage was pretty barebones: I pretty much added a couple of things, put in substrate and food, and popped Wheatley in to settle. Today I pulled out the middle shelf, added a thin rope for him to climb around, added the plastic house the cage came with (that I originally set aside - and as soon as I get a wooden or woven grass, etc, house, it'll be replaced), added a swing and hanging rope... It's not amazing, but it's a definite improvement.

We hung out for a while. I picked him up a couple of times, and after I put him back in the cage he cautiously stepped onto my hand, scurried up my arm, and then back down into the cage. He's such a little sweetheart and hasn't nipped at all yet, unlike SOME mice I could mention!

Jen from the Black Dog Blog suggested, on yesterday's post, getting a friend for Wheatley. Unfortunately for him, it is highly suggested to never house male mice together unless you're an experienced mouse-keeper. They can be absolutely fine for months... and then you come home or wake up to dead or horribly injured mice, with no warning bullying beforehand. I couldn't house him with a female either, unless I wanted a million baby mice. I've heard some good things about housing male mice with female multimammate mice, but that comes with risks, too.

For now, I'm going to see if Wheatley will be able to be alone if he has enough interaction with me, which he should be fine with. He's much more social than the girls were when I first got them, so I think he'll be okay.

Friday, 16 March 2012


We have a new addition to the Court of Tails. I may have impulse-bought a baby male mouse from the pet shop. I'm all too aware of why you shouldn't support pet shops, and that you're not helping if you buy an animal... but I couldn't stop myself.

Wheatley is brown and white, and he's in a decently sized little cage - obviously on his own, because I don't want or need a bunch of mini-mice running around!

He seems very confident compared to the girls. The cage has wire bars, and we've fed him a couple of mealworms through the bars and poked our fingertips through without getting bitten. He has spent most of his time the last ~5 hours or so that he's been here just running around, climbing the bars and eating food like a champ.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Strange Little Dog.

As was pretty obvious in yesterday's Wordless Wednesday, Lola underwent a slight makeover: she was hand-stripped for the first time since Septemberish, in preparation for the warmer weather of spring. It was a little difficult to tell from the final photo, but there was a lot of hair. Lola went from wooly and scruffy to smooth and soft, pretty much everywhere.

She's still a very strange looking dog, under all that fur.

Her thighs are pretty huge; her tail, even stripped down, is squirrelly and strange; she has a really large chest that turns dramatically into a tiny loin; her front legs are slightly bandy, and her forefeet turn outward a little (though they're not as bad as I worried they might get when they started turning out); and her topline (though it has levelled over the last few months) remains odd looking.

Yeah, strange dog. But she's my dog.

Monday, 5 March 2012


First up, this week has flown by! I had some personal developments, like getting myself a social life (ha!), and I had a bunch of university work to do.

And then, over the weekend, Jess started acting weird.

Friday night, she was clicking her mouth open and shut and making a weird noise when Mum gave her a chew when she got back. It ended pretty quickly so we weren't too concerned. She did this on-off over the weekend, and I resolved to book her into the vets today.

We got a same-day appointment, and at 2pm the vet saw us. She had a very gross, rotten tooth on one side, which was wobbling and getting kind of stuck in the way of her closing her mouth. Whilst we were there, Jess got pretty distressed about it, and was trying to paw it out of her mouth, as well as whining and rubbing her face on the table.

The vet got her booked in immediately because she didn't want to leave her overnight and do the tooth extraction tomorrow (which was the original plan). I left Jess there at 2, and picked her up at about half 7.

She's down three teeth (the gross rotten one, plus two other molars which were definitely heading that way), and she's very dopey due to the metacam. She's been walking around like she's drunk, but she's (slowly) eaten some pasta and had some belly rubs, so I think she'll be fine.

Lola was pestering her when we got back, but thankfully there wasn't any aggression there - which was something I was worried about.

I'll catch up on y'all again soon! I'm the worst blogger right now.