Hello all we have been trying to do some serious training with our dog Ozzy McDougal or Tinie or barkster as he now likes to be known. What with the house move and website development we have been very bad dog parents and kind of just hoped that he would start behaving himself when he was older! What wishful thinking.... For a long time we have not tackled his barking which he does when he is excited and as a result when anyone came to visit he would just bark constantly from the moment he heard the door bell until he decided he wanted to stop. Telling him to be quiet only made matters worse. So I decided to try him with a rattle tin, to be honest I had heard about this technique before but had completely forgotten about it.So armed with a colemans mustard tin with some coins and a key inside I waited for the barking to start. The first opportunity came when I got back from shopping. Laden with bags I usually open the door to a nice little whimper greeting from old boy Dougal kind of like a little howl of delight that I am home again, and a complete barkfest from Tinie. I had already thought to leave the tin in the hall so that it was at hand for me to use when I got in, so when I entered I said hello and down which Tini will do for a few seconds before he starts barking for attention whilst doing a little skittish run around the place. One sharp shake of the tin..... He was startled even a little scared looking, it stopped him in his tracks and he stopped barking, ran away and when into a down position looking at me in a curious way. He stood and barked again, I said the command "Quiet" and shook the tin once more. Almost immediate result, back into down position and no barking. I praised him and asked him to come, over he trotted looking very happy and greeting me in happy calm way. Next stage was the arrival of Jasmine for work the next morning... usually we have a mad barking half hour as he tries to get to her, I keep him away and usually send him outside until he has worn himself out. He then comes back in but has to be kept out of the office as he barks and barks for attention. So Rattle Tin in hand I answered the door, yes he was already barking having heard the door bell, we both walked in to the room, Tinie gets totally overexcited barking and jumping, cue one sharp shake of the tin. Response stops barking immediately and goes into down position..stays down until he is called to come say hello. Throughout that day he was calmer and did not bark for attention like he usually does. Things were looking good and I though that this was probably enough training for one day, but we had been looking after Scooby - Dougal's brother as he has been a bit poorly so when Karen turned up to collect Scooby with my two godsons I was expecting the usual barkfest. I followed the same steps allowing him to see that we had visitors, he usually goes especially mad when he sees Adam and Ryan, he loves children so to everyone's complete amazement one shake of the tin was all it took for him to calm down considerably and stop barking. Don't get me wrong he was still wagging his little butt like crazy and doing a little howl of delight. But he was only allowed to greet the visitors when he was calm and not barking. So it seems like we may have a solution to the barking, we will continue with the training next week and start to combine it with the "Good Boy Quiet" command after he has been quiet for 15 -20 seconds, with the aim of eventually being able to just use the Be Quiet command ! At least for the moment we have a happier solution all round for the barking boy. We will be posting more about our training journey with the little boy and would love to hear your training tips too!
Trust us to take some great pictures of Ozzy McDougal's Birthday on the 11th August and then totally forget to share them. It is hard to believe that it is almost a year since this little bundle of trouble came into our lives. Having forgotten what it was like to have a pup, remember old Mr Dougal is 16 years old this year, we have only just got over the shock of having a new pup! Anyhow we decided to make a fuss of Ozzy who is now sometimes known as Dougal-Tini or Mookie for some strange reason, its funny that even pets seem to get nick names! So we baked some biscuits and let him have one of our great Egg Babies toys as a birthday present.
We tested them on Humans First! Mark actually commented that they would go well with some cheese, they were lamb and mint flavour treats and were really easy to make. Just chuck all the ingredients into a food processor, wizz them up, roll out the dough and bake!
Human testers Ryan, Mark and Adam really did taste them as well as posing for some pictures , and helping out with making the actual treats!
Most of the time it is great having the dogs in the office, they bring some light relief from boring accounts and make us laugh at their antics when a new delivery arrives and they are usually more excited about the box and the delivery man than the goodies inside. But just sometimes when we really need to keep our heads down and concentrate like today when we had some overdue expenses to sort out, they can be a real pain. We have had constant barking for attention, rummaging in bins and then some high level window watching....
with some 'help" move packing supplies around .....
It has been a few years (15 to be precise) since I did any type of proper dog training so I was interested to see how training methods have changed over the years. Off we trotted with Ozzy McDougal last night to his 1st puppy training class. It was great fun, I have never seen so many grown men and women smile so much, just seeing the variety of pups with their owners, comparing stories of house training accidents, chewing incidents and general misdemeanours executed by their respective bundles of fur reminded me why I love dogs. Each pup had their own personality, the cute as a button Henry the poodle won the prize for his scampering while looking uber cute ability. Alfie the minature schnauzer was more than a match for our rather boisterous pup, who always barks above his weight and will tackle a larger dog most of the time, (more of that later). The very well behaved Benny a beagle who was excellent at walking to heel, sit and down, most of which Ozzy excelled in being terrible at. To be fair to the little guy last night was the first time he has been in an enclosed place with so many dogs and people, so his excitement button was turned up to the max! Being a completely bad dog mother I had forgotten that I should not have fed him before the session, or at least I should have given him reduced portions, never the less he did almost chew my thumb off trying to get to his treats. Not because he wanted the treat really, more because he wanted to remove the distraction that was stopping him getting to anyone or anything except me. So the class started with teaching the sit command, Ozzy can manage this at home as we always make him sit before he gets anything, a toy, a treat, his food so he managed that one OK, in between anxious glances to the rest of the room. Next came down or lie down, his performance at this was useless and all I managed to do was confuse the little tyke, so some homework for us both I think. We then tried the watch me command, he was not too bad at this having got a little more used to the level of activity around him, but the behaviour was more snap the treat and get on to watching something more exciting. Fetch was next and he was a little star...almost, we do this a lot at home so I waited patiently for my turn, and told him to fetch, he did not disappoint he went straight for the toy turned around, noticed his audience and went to pieces. He was a lot more interested in getting to the other pups and people than fetching a silly old toy that wasn't even his. ( Bad dog mother again forgot to bring his own toy) He had a little play with some of the other pups while the other dogs were trying to fetch, then it was time for the finale. Heel work while weaving in and out around the other dogs. I had a little tuition about how to get the heel position correct..treat in left hand, dog on left and lead in right hand. I would give him about a 3/10 for his performance on this, but it was his first time. The training methods were a lot gentler than 15 years ago, no yanking of leads, or yelling which has got to be better for the dog and the owner. I can honestly say that I felt like I had been at the gym for an hour, I think Ozzy felt he was in doggie heaven, treats, dogs and people, all the things he loves. We have homework to complete so hopefully next week will bring a greater sense of achievement for both of us, but whatever happens Ozzy and I will have fun. As we said our goodbyes to our new friends, outside the next class was waiting to start their class. Ozzy, full love for everyone as usual, heard voices and yipped in delight at the thought of meeting even more pals...the two huge german shepheards were beautiful both in looks and behaviour. Ozzy was amazed, never having seen dogs as big as this and somewhat calmed by the exertions of the previous hour, he stood nicely, had a sniff, wagged his tail and was a perfectly good boy! Then he hit the deck, it was the closest he got to the down command all evening. We can't wait for next week and neither can Ozzy.
Wow just look at the frosty covering everything on our walk had this morning. I don't think I can ever remember seeing this amount of ice and frost on trees, it is just beautiful. The dogs are enjoying their frosty walk even though they end up with very cold paws. Perhaps we need to get some doggie boots in to protect them! The trees just look fantastic, like someone has sprinkled them with icing sugar. Looking very close at a post you can even see how the ice has formed along all of the tiny fibres. It really is a winter wonderland outside this week. Best of all no messy paw prints as the ground is completely frozen so no chance of walking any mud back inside at the moment. Stay safe in this very frosty weather and drive carefully if you are out and about!
Quick post for all the guys and gals who have been asking to see Dougal and new addition Ozzy together. This was shot a few weeks ago on one of our morning walks, as you can see Ozzy is still a little cheeky with Dougal and really just needs putting in his place. Dougal bless him is the perfect gent and only really gets annoyed when his food is under attack. Even though he is 15 as you can see the old guy still manages the odd charge or two to catch up after a sniff around the mole hills. The young'un is still so fascinated by everything that is is almost impossible to get him to stand still for a photo so you can see much more of him on a video. Hope you all enjoy seeing the boys together as much as we enjoy being with them every day.
What great friends we have found on twitter, people like @puppy_love_pets who sent us some lovely hand made bandana gifts for the boys! As you can see Dougal can still turn on the charm when he wants to, just look at him in his lovely red check bandana.New boy Ozzy had just woken up from a nap when we managed to get this picture of him in his Skull + Crossbones pirate bandana. It is perfect for him as he is swash buckling around the house like a typical puppy. I know the guys at puppy class will be so jealous. They really are such cute items, made with care and attention to detail and unlike scarf style bandanas they stay put as they have velcro fastenings which fit your individual dog's neck perfectly. New fabrics are introduced on a regular basis so you should check out the Puppy's shop where you can purchase a bandana for your pooch or even for your cat! Thanks so much to @puppy_love_pets for sending these lovely presents to the boys and I can't wait to see the christmas designs!
Ozzy trying out a carrot for the very first time a typical puppy wanting to try out new things and carrots are a good healthy snack that won't mean weight gain. Ozzy will be testing out some of our puppy products so look out for more fun and games from the Prince of Dogness.
We had quite forgotten just how much time a new puppy can steal from you. Introducing Ozzy McDougal who arrived with us on the 9th October which yes is only 4 days ago! Ozzy was born on the 11th August and will be 9 weeks old tomorrow he is a cairn terrier and is quite dark in colour but as we know Cairn's can change colour dramatically so we think he will stay dark with a bit of red. His mum was dark and his dad a red both lovely dogs. So he is installed in the household and already making his presence felt, he has a crate in the kitchen where he sleeps at night and generally after about 5 -10 minutes of howling he settles down for the night. We are obviously in the middle of house training and with the assistance of puppy pads ( these did not exist 15 years ago when we had Dougal) we have so far only had one major accident on the carpet. The thing that I had forgotten is just how much you have to watch a new puppy like a hawk, having had an older dog for so many years I had to totally puppy proof the whole house. So plants that he could chew have been moved, toys that were long forgotten by Dougal have had a new lease of life. Cats bowls have to be moved immediately as Ozzy loves the taste of stinky cat food. The house is looking a lot more tidy apart from the puppy toys, news papers and puppy pads all over the place. I was reminded just how much having a puppy is like having a small unruly toddler who demands attention all the time. So the last few days have been spend letting him settle in, now we need to get him into a routine so that I have a chance to get back to being able to do some work. So here is the routine:-
- Wake up - go outside for a pee and a poo hopefully
- Have breakfast
- Play time for 20 minutes
- Go outside for a pee and a poo hopefully
- Go into little satchel bag and go for a 'walk' with Dougal
- Come home have a sleep for about an hour
- Have lunch + play time for 20 minutes
- Go outside for a pee and a poo hopefully
- Have a sleep for about an hour
- Have afternoon snack
- Play time for about 20 minutes
- Watch while we prepare dinner
- Sleep until dinner
- Have dinner
- Play time for about an hour
- Go outside for a pee and a poo hopefully
- Sleep/Play/Poo until bedtime
- Howl for 10 minutes
Get up and do it all over again Ozzy has a a little play pen that he spends some time in, this is a great idea as he can be with us but not getting into everything and getting under foot. He will be going to a puppy party for one hour over the next three weeks to help him socialise with other dogs. He will be able to go for walks outside from the 2nd November after he has had all of his vaccinations so hopefully he will be able to walk off some of his excess energy. He is a total joy and greets each new experience with wonder, he has already given us hours of pleasure with his cute little bear like face, his tiny bark and big howl and of course the way he want's to copy Dougal and be a big dog. A new puppy is a wonderful thing and little Ozzy is everything we could have wished for and more. We will have more tales of how Ozzy is getting on in his new world soon, now where did I leave that mop!