A fistful of sausages: training the Daisy dog.

 

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For a few sausages more I’m hoping my greyhound will be good, not bad and certainly not get us into an ugly situation.

I’m out with the Daisy dog on a bright, late January afternoon. The birds are singing hopeful songs and a gentle, relaxing walk lies ahead of us.

We turn the corner and are immediately thrown into a standoff, not dissimilar to a scene from a spaghetti western – hence the title.

 

Photo credit: pyxurz.blogspot.com
Photo credit: pyxurz.blogspot.com

A beautiful, long-haired, border collie who goes by the name of Flossie leads her pack of two humans. They always trail several yards behind her. The music builds to a climax  in my aching head as I clock Daisy’s body language. She is eyeballing the Flossie and all her muscles have been tensed. Flossie stares the Daisy dog down and keeps coming at us.

There’s no time to retrieve the fistful of sausages in my glove ( yummy!) and I take evasive action by turning my pooch away from her perceived threat to face a wall, whilst calmly, but firmly telling her no… to defuse the situation. But, Daisy’s not having any of this and she lunges at the Flossie. I manage to pull her back in time and tell her no! She gives up and the standoff is over. Phew! The Flossie continues on her walk.

The rest of Flossie’s pack ambles up and a joint and judgemental ooh! is muttered by them and so the finger of blame wafts in my direction.

To say that I’m bloody furious is an understatement.

Standoffs with this Flossie are becoming a regular occurrence.  Usually, I get to deploy my weapon… sliced sausages. A request for the Daisy dog to watch me distracts her as she loves sausages. Don’t all dogs?  The Flossie passes us by and her pack of two loyal followers rush silently past us. Which is odd, to say the least. Most dog walkers like to pass comment on our various canine encounters. Or at least say ” Hello.”

In my quest to train our pooch, I go everywhere with my fists and pockets full of sausages, or bits of beef, pork and when I’m desperate liver. All cooked of course. I smell really yummy and dogs for miles around are thrilled to see me. They all want to stop and say hello. Which is fine… the Daisy dog gets to socialize with other dogs and I get to chat for England.

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All except Flossie that is. Flossie doesn’t stop to chat, her pack never stop, or chat and the Irish Daisy dog thinks it’s highly amusing to shout “Feck off!” at her.

It is not.

This is not acceptable for a lady/female greyhound and so the training continues.

At this stage my husband and I ( one has been watching The Crown on Netflix and is feeling rather regal) can’t decide whether it’s the pack leader thing that is the problem, or the rubber ring that Flossie has rammed in her mouth, at all times. The Daisy dog has lots of toys and things to chew… other than chair legs, mobile phones, pairs of glasses and false teeth, but no rubber ring.

Yet another day and Daisy and I round the corner to be confronted by the Flossie. This time I quickly cross the road, with a very verbal and reluctant Daisy dog in tow. Flossie continues and her single pack member struggles to keep up with her.

I cross back over and explain to Flossie’s guy that it would be very helpful for them to have her on the lead, when we meet. He admits that he can’t walk her on the lead. She “pulls my shoulder out of its socket” he tells me.

We talk on, the Flossie keeps going… somewhere around the corner and walking along the side of the very busy, main road through our village. ( The thought of this scares me to death…  seemingly not him.)

He accuses me  of having a vicious dog. I point out that in all of our standoffs I’m the one that has to deal with both dogs. Never have they made any attempt to call the Flossie to heel. ( There’s no whistling of the pooch going on in this version of The Good , The Bad and The Ugly.) Nor do they put her on a lead; as other dog owners tend to do, when they see an approaching dog being walked on the lead. It evens things up a bit – in the canine world!  The Flossie is presumably still on the roam. Points made and taken, we go our separate ways.

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Several minutes later and the pooch and I are further down the road, and making my way round to the river when we meet…

Flossie leads again, he follows on. His anger is almost tangible.

This time the sausages are deployed, but we’re trapped in between another damn wall and them . He struts past. However, Flossie has stopped to sniff the grass. He shouts her five times, each time more frantically and angrily. Finally, she decides to join him. The Daisy dog is more of a lady this time and doesn’t swear, or attempt a lunge for the collie. She gets an extra-large piece of sausage and oodles of praise.

Bloody marvellous, I think… and head to the river for some chill out time.

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The Daisy dog’s rubber ring arrives today.

Watch this space as I train our still adjusting to life as a family pet and so occasionally ever so slightly naughty, but absolutely adorable greyhound.

Do you have a free spirit dog? Or are you training your pooch? Feel free to share your experiences and words of wisdom/techniques .

Thanks for dropping by.

Dorne x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daisy dog hard at it.
The Daisy dog hard at it.

 

 

 

 

Greyhounds and muddy boots: the Daisy dog continued.

cartoon Daisy for headerThe Daisy dog has been with us for seven months… how time flies. Up to now, I  haven’t talked about her much on here and as yet she has shown no interest in blogging herself. ( Such as our previous greyhound, Misty did.)

The new improved Write Dorne will include a link to The Greyhound Posting posts. I’m not much improved yet and so this is being published without the link thingy. You know how you want everything to be just perfect and it all to work? Well life isn’t like that, is it? Just of lately there have been a few very big spanners thrown into the works and I’ve had to adapt.

I could wait and wait…and wait some more until this perfection thing is achieved. But then, life rolls on and if we wait until we’re ready – we never do it.

So, this post comes to you a little wanting…but, more or less there.

Back to the Daisy dog!

We seem to be making good progress with her training and then sometimes, as with a child, it all goes pear-shaped. You know how it is? You think you’ve cracked it and then there’s a little accident and a bit of naughtiness…and the Daisy dog also plays up as well, sometimes.

Daisy is four years old now, so a bit like a teenager. One that won’t come out of her bedroom , is quite mouthy and won’t always do as she is told. And don’t even get me started on the unmade bed.

Every dog is different and it’s no different with greyhounds. As a breed they are easy-going and gentle, but, they do each have their own little idiosyncrasies.

The daisy dog 1

As I write this, our slightly larger than average for a greyhound bitch (oh, isn’t she like a tiger) dog is subjecting one of her favourite toys to a good thrashing, in our bedroom. When listened to from downstairs , it sounds like the ceiling is about to cave in, or that we’re having an earthquake, such is the force of the lunges and charging around.

There’s a lot of power residing in our loveable pet, as I found out to my detriment, the other night. I foolishly got involved in a game of I’m going to get your teddy, oh yes I am! Only I didn’t, because as I bent over to get teddy, the Daisy dog grabbed it and at that precise moment rammed her head right up into my forehead. Ouch! Yes….there was a loud thud as two skulls made contact and an usual quiet descended on the room.

The pain and formation of the bruise and swelling of my forehead was immediate. I examined the Daisy dog and she loved it… oooh- a head massage, again mummy, please! She seems to be just fine.

So, I now have an even healthier respect of her powerful form and I keep my head well out-of-the-way, during our rough and tumble sessions.

Daisy asleep 1

Daisy is coming along fine with her training, although the recall needs to be worked on. We call her and she has a good long think about it and then just carries on with her more interesting dog stuff. But, then there’s food.

Food helps…doesn’t it with all dogs? When I’m out with the Daisy dog I have an unusual aroma of either cheese, beef, sausages or bacon. I use tiny pieces of meat to get her attention and for training. All goes well…unless I need to shake hands and then I have to explain why I can’t. A greasy, beefy hand. Most folk get it and the ones that don’t…well, they haven’t lived, nor trained a delinquent teenager of a dog!

My daughter is giving me quite a few useful pointers with the Daisy dog. She has successfully trained quite a few dogs and is one of those folk that have a natural connection with dogs. They are drawn to her – and the beef!

I’m hoping that one day we will have perfected the recall, if the Daisy dog has decided to take part in it. There’s a totally enclosed paddock, near to where we live. If she can be trusted she’ll go off the lead, preferably with some other greyhound friends. No doubt they will all do an imaginary anti clockwise circuit of the field. Which, is rather fabulous to watch. And if I get my act together I will film it and stick it on here.

Daisy blog pic

Don’t hold your breath though…she will have to learn to come when called first. We may be some way off that at present.

But, greyhounds don’t need to be let off the lead. Some folk have this idea that it’s cruel to not let a dog off the lead for a run. Well, which is the cruellest, a dog safe on the lead, or a lost/dead dog? Greyhounds cover a lot of ground in very little time. No one can catch them, but, if your hound is receptive to returning to you…for a titbit, then you may be able to let them off. However personally, I would never let Daisy off in an open area. I just know that a  rabbit or hare would make an appearance and cock it all up.

So, life with the Daisy dog is fun, fascinating and fabulous.

As for the separation anxiety when we leave her home alone? We think we’re finally getting there. We get our coats on and then don’t go out. Then we take them off and go out. The plan is to totally confuse her and then she’ll just give in and chill out. It’s easier in the summer months…we can just shoot off through the door, with very little messing around. The winter months are a dead give away that we are LEAVING her home alone, as we try to sneakily get kitted out like  Eskimos (it’s grim up north!). Try sitting for any length of time in a thermal coat with the central heating on, attempting to be chilled and the resulting heat stroke is a bit of a give away that this is not the usual routine. Dogs aren’t stupid..

But, we don’t give in easily and our new member of the family is being gently allowed to adapt to her new life as our much-loved family pet. And needless to say we would never leave her home alone for hours on end.

All things considered it’s quite a big ask when she has being surrounded by people and dogs all of her life. And now she has to live with a rather suspect vacuum cleaner!

I’ll let you know how we get on.

Here’s a tip.

If you have a dog that bolts its food and then positions itself in the middle of the lounge rug, to bring it all back up again – try this.

Daisy eating

Place a ball in with the food. We use quite a big one, as you will note. This slows down the eating, as they move the ball around to get to the food.

Result: your rug/floor is safe and your pooch remains fed.

That’s it for now. It’s back to blog admin and working out how to get things where they should be, for me.

Thanks for reading.

Dorne x

Done racing: the early stages of re-homing a retired greyhound.

 

WP_20160224_11_54_39_ProThose of you who read this blog regularly may know that about two months ago we ( hubby and I) adopted our second retired greyhound, Daisy. She’s a blue brindle and will be four years old in May.

In the two months we’ve had this cuddly little madam… and oh boy does she love her cuddles, she has established herself very firmly in our family.

All dogs are different and Daisy is completely different to Misty, our previous greyhound who sadly passed away last September.  Whereas Misty was quite chilled, into blogging and listening to music, Daisy is hyperactive, has shown no interest in blogging on here whatsoever and doesn’t seem to appreciate my taste in music.

Misty was quiet and rarely spoke to us…Daisy never shuts up. Misty was more than happy to just chill , sleeping on her various beds…Daisy wants to know what we’ve got planned, when we’re doing it and are we there yet?

So, two very different dogs and both as lovely as each other.

Daisy has settled in well and has developed quite a taste for mobile phones, glasses and false teeth.  Fortunately, when she got hold of my mobile phone she didn’t hurt herself…the same could not be said for the phone though. Click here to find out how easy it was for me to replace/upgrade.

Hubby will have his home eye test next week and then he will be able to order new glasses and give the wonky pair to Daisy to wear. As for his teeth…he doesn’t plan to share them with Daisy again, anytime soon. Her own teeth are just fine.

As greyhounds spend all of their time in the company of other dogs and people, we were keen to get her into the habit of being home alone. We spent the first two weeks putting our coats on and then taking them off. Putting our shoes on and then taking them off. Taking our clothes off and then going out. . Putting our clothes on and staying in. Then going outside for a few minutes, getting soaked to the bone and then returning to a somewhat confused, sniggering dog.

And as any responsible dog owner knows dogs soon learn our routines. They learn to recognise when you put your coat and shoes on and associate it with you going out. So, hence the taking the clothes off thing. What dog in their right mind would associate you suddenly appearing in the room in the nude, with you taking a trip out? It’s all clever stuff.

We got brave and went to the local convenience store in the village. So confident were we that Daisy was adjusting to the home all alone thing , that we never broke into a run around the shop…not once. Honestly! Okay…we’ve never been around the store so quickly in our lives.

We arrived home to a rather chilled dog.

We became even braver and went out for a meal at our local pub, We shovelled the food in and drained our glasses extra fast.

We arrived home to an okay dog.

Then one Sunday lunchtime, just as the Yorkshire pudding was calling to me, we left the house to hear howls. Then the barking began and more howling followed. We went back into the house to a dog that was not okay with being home alone anymore.

We think something had spooked her and so now, as is often the case with children potty training, we are back to base one. No, we’re not potty training the dog…we’re trying to rid her of her separation anxiety.

So it’s back to:

  • Putting our coats and shoes on and sitting down for a read.
  • Going out and congregating outside the gate…for no apparent reason.
  • Leaving the room and coming back in again
  • And going out and coming back in
  • Taking our shoes off
  • Sitting down and standing up
  • Standing on one leg
  • Taking our clothes off and going and sitting in the car for a few minutes
  • Coming back in and ignoring the dog
  • Waiting for the dog to calm down, before calmly putting our clothes back on and cuddling her (surprisingly, this can sometimes take quite a while.)

I’m pretty sure that these tactics will pay off eventually. I’ve read all the books, researched it on the internet and even written about it. I’m not too sure about the taking off the clothes bit , but it confuses the hell out of Daisy and momentarily stops her in her tracks. Hubby struggles to walk too far these days and to be honest it takes up most of our day getting undressed and dressed again. But, if it settles the dog and enables us to go the pub and get absolutely off our heads at some point in the future, it will be all worthwhile.

We’re also still having the occasional little woopsies , by the kitchen door…and sometimes Daisy wets there as well! She is very vocal when she is barking at her reflection in  the mirror in our bedroom, but suddenly goes quiet when she needs to pee. She has a certain walk that she does, but unless you witness it ( and once you’ve seen it you never forget it) you’re stuffed and a reservoir appears in front of the door. The doormat has never been washed so much and the floor is so clean… that Daisy just has to pee on it..again!

On a more positive note, Daisy has mastered the stairs and bounds up them, like I should imagine an earthquake  would hit. She walks very well on the lead…even with me, who is unable to walk in a straight line to save my life. Other dogs are quite happy to approach her and she is making friends. I’ve actually managed to train her to give me her paw for cleaning, after walks. This did not involve the removal of garments.

For any  would be greyhound adopters out there, don’t be put off by the peeing, the removal of clothes, or the getting legless in the pub. It is actually all good fun. When our little puppy (she weighs in at around 28kg) needs a cuddle, or a play, it makes up for the mobile phones, teeth and glasses. We wouldn’t change a thing…even if we spend the rest of our lives semi-dressed and never socializing ever again. Being friendly with folk is highly over rated. Why do that when you can stay home, rolling around the floor with a dog that likes to wear your glasses and false teeth?

Next week we will move the training up to the next level and begin to move from the back gate and slowly circle the house. Let’s hope it isn’t raining…it could be quite a chilling experience.

You may get to hear about this in the media as we may well get arrested for trying to rid our dog of separation anxiety. The powers that be just don’t understand…do they? We dog lovers will do anything to help them…even if it scares the hell out of the neighbours.

So, this is our first two months with Daisy. The training continues and she continues to adapt very well to life as a much loved pet, that just won’t be separated from her mobile phone and glasses. She knows what she likes.

I’ll keep you up to date on our progress and thanks for reading.

Dorne x

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Daisy.

Daisy newIt’s all things greyhound again, at the moment for us. We’ve just adopted a three-year old brindle ( just a little puppy really!) called Daisy: and so it is back to the dog walks, training and having a home that feels complete again. I do think a dog, or any pet makes a house a home.

Of course, we have our late greyhound, Misty to thank for this.

Misty 12She was our first grey and the reason for our addiction to them. Hubby and I aren’t complaining…it’s a brilliant addiction and one that comes highly recommended. Try it and get hooked!

Regular readers of this blog will remember that Misty posted on Write Dorne…Daisy will probably have her own column. It’s all part of a drive to shake things up a bit on here and get cracking with my greyhound book again.

Incidentally, our little puppy has just climbed our stairs, of her own accord ( a lot of greys can’t climb stairs!) and gone to investigate the upstairs of our cottage! My balls of wool are no longer safe! Loving it and I can’t stop grinning.

Thanks for dropping by again.

Dorne x