'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, 27 July 2012

Monday, 23 July 2012


Yesterday morning I discovered two things: Flower had been bitten again overnight, and she had, at some point between then and the last cleaning day (when I do my in-depth checks of each mouse), gotten a massive tumor. I took her up to the vets today, and they confirmed that it was a tumor, and gave me three options: attempt to operate (risky, potentially expensive), leave it, or put to sleep.

Based on the size and location of the tumor, I'd already decided that if it was confirmed to be a tumor by the vet, that I was going to get her pts - if it was a small lump on her leg or back of neck, for example, I might have opted to leave until it got bigger. So, she got put to sleep today. Poor thing.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Picture spam.

Proof that Lola isn't terrified of water now :)

My dog is an idiot, but she's an excitable idiot.

Today she was a Good Dog; greeting a beagle/jrt looking dog, and almost playing with it. She was slightly nervous, but the other dog had very nice, appropriate body language and backed off when she got a little overwhelmed. But there was no vocalisation, no bouncing at the other dog (which she did to a scruffy westie earlier), and no nervous baring of teeth or snapping. All in all, she was pretty good!

She also chased six or seven rabbits, and was extremely excited about it. She even tried to follow them under the big container thing that they went into - but they went into the little gap between the floor of the container and a second floor? Or something like that; whereas she went under the container itself. Silly dog.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Mishmash Monday.

Taken on phone so poor quality; but I didn't want to miss Jessie's silly rolling-around face.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


As a follow-up to the last post; thanks for your support, y'all. I hope I didn't worry anyone too much!

After it happened, I gave Lola a few days to recover before asking her to go back into the water. She's fine now, and it doesn't seem to have affected her relationship with water at all. She's been in the canal a couple of times, and isn't any more reluctant than she's ever been. Yay!

I've just pulled a bunch of photos off of my phone, so I think I should share them. They're from the last ~year. I also have my photos for mishmash monday all sorted :) Apologies if you've seen any of these before!

Friday, 13 July 2012


A couple of days ago, me and Lola had a very traumatising experience.

She was filthy, and hot. We'd been walking for a while through mud, so I took her to the canal to let her cool off. I didn't really take notice of the slightly faster moving water than at other parts of the canal; and I assumed she'd be able to handle it, anyway.

And she did. Three times, I tossed the ball gently into the water, and three times she had no problem bringing it back. On the fourth throw, the ball got pulled out just a little too far--right into the faster currents. Lola followed it in, grabbed it, and then turned and couldn't get back.

I watched her for a few moments, thinking she'd be fine. I called her, and she tried to surge forward to get to me, but couldn't get out of the current. Her face was starting to look panicked; and I expect mine was starting to look just as bad.

She wasn't just stationary in the water now, but was being pulled slowly away - away from me, away from the bank. I started calling her more loudly, desperately, trying to encourage her to push forward as much as she possibly could. She was being pulled further and further away, and I realised that if I didn't get her, she would carry on down the canal.

At this part of the canal, after you leave the area we were in, there is only one other part where the canal is accessible until it goes under the nearby park. I could have run to the next accessible part and hoped I'd beat her there; but maybe she'd have gotten out and tried to follow me, and gotten lost. Or maybe I'd have missed her, and she would have been swept under the park for a couple of minutes in the darkness. After that, there's only a small stretch of accessible water (very slow moving) before it again is unaccessible.

I couldn't risk losing my dog in order to keep myself dry.

Still calling her, I quickly pulled off my bags and dropped my phone on the ground. I headed quickly into the water, fully dressed (and, as I realised later, my mp3 still on - thankfully that still works now!), and waded after her. Wellington boots and jeans are not appropriate rescue-dog-from-canal attire.

She got pushed further and further away, and I nearly slipped face-first a lot. The water was difficult to slog through. Lola was pushed against a fallen tree branch, which (thankfully) slowed her enough that I could catch up. I grabbed her just as she was about to slip under the branch, and pulled her up against my chest.

She clung to me, wrapping her paws tightly around my free arm, and only dropped the ball once I asked her to. She'd held onto it the entire time.

I managed to get a lift home from a friend, and had a shower then washed Lola too. Once we were clean and dry, there seemed to be no lasting damage. She did sleep for the rest of the day, though.

I haven't taken her to deep water again yet, but we did go biking along our usual canal route (not the same fast part of the canal! we've never been there before, and certainly won't go again) and she went into the stomach-high (on her) water with no problem to cool off. I think she'll be okay.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Growing Up.

Lola has been doing a lot of growing up lately - or maybe our training is just paying off. Either way, over the last few days, she has dealt with:
- A strange man being in the same room as her for ~half an hour. I was constantly throwing her ball, but usually despite this she'd have been tense and uneasy about the situation. Instead, her body language was generally quite loose; she only growled once (when Jess barked when he first came in); and she didn't vocalise or lunge when he extended a hand and tried to get her attention.
- The return of a friend she hasn't seen for a while. She was uncertain when K first came in, and then seemed to remember her. K slept over; she didn't vocalise at all in the morning, spent an hour or so asleep on her lap (even when I was sat next to them!), and licked her a whole lot.
- An off-lead dog greeting. The dog's sudden appearance was a surprise: I'd let her off lead for 30 seconds to get through a narrow entry with my bike, as it is impossible to navigate a bike and somewhat bike-shy dog through such a narrow entry without getting irritated. The weim was pretty calm, and Lola handled a face-to-face greeting quite well (though I did tell her, very firmly, to 'leave it' when it first came up, which helped). Another dog appeared seconds after, some crazy collie cross, and she was much less happy about  that; she barked and lunged, though came back when called. There was no lasting effect to this though as a few moments after another dog (a black/white lurcher, on leash and looking interestedly at Lola but not straining the leash). Lola was still off lead, but she remained by my bike and didn't go up to the dog, or even stare overmuch at it.
- Nearly three hours crated (today). It's the longest stretch of time she's ever been crated for, but she handled it like a champ and didn't mess at all!! If she'd been loose in the kitchen, I can guarantee there'd have been mess. She seems to have *finally* clicked that the crate is for sleeping, not crapping in. I'm hoping by the time I go back to university in mid-Sept, she'll be able to handle being crated whilst I'm out. It would make life a LOT easier!

Good dog.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Tuesday Torture.

Why do you hate me?

It's touching me!

Lola has now formally met Kinkajou (previous mice & dogs post), Mozart and Wheatley. She remains very alarmed by them being put on her, and displays no prey drive toward them whilst they're near or on her. She just doesn't like them too much! It takes a lot of self-control for her to not eat them, so she finds it somewhat aversive. I'm trying to have a different mouse out to see her each day to see if she'll get used to it. I fully intend to get rats as my next 'small pet', and I'd be thrilled if she could be loose in the room whilst they're out.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Silly Sunday.

We went to the fields/lake today, and I wondered if Lola would jump in. Well... I guess you could definitely say she jumped in! She's never done that before, but I think it's fair to say she's come a long way from really, really hating the water when she was younger.