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Sunday, 2 September 2018

Visitations

We've been having a run of visitors in our household recently. First it was 'Her Indoors' parents; good, dog-loving folk who I've known for most of my life and who have responded very well to training over the years. Then 'Junior Him' came back home for the Bank Holiday weekend, returning on the Monday, followed by 'Junior Her' for a few days last week.
          Now as a senior fur who's been round the block and down the lane a few times, I take all these comings and goings in my stride. After all, I was around when the Juniors were pupsters and 'Her Indoors' was always racing about, going here, there and everywhere, and there were regularly children visiting as well as adults. Teds on the other hand I suspect, has led a much more sheltered life as he lived with an older lady on her own, in quite a remote spot in the countryside. He therefore finds all the activity a bit overwhelming.
         When 'Her Indoors' parents arrived, he followed my example and greeted them warmly, enjoying the extra fussing and tummy tickling. They kept their bedroom door shut at night, so when they reappeared in the morning, he was pleasantly surprised. However, he was a bit disconcerted when they disappeared off home again as he obviously thought they were here for good.
          'Junior Him', on his return home, caught Teds out, as he saw that 'Her Indoors' was in the conservatory so came in via that entrance. I was snoozing in the kitchen so he couldn't take his lead, if you'll excuse the rather obvious pun, from me. Now Teds is a bit wary of men. We don't know why. Maybe he didn't see that many in his previous life or maybe some man wasn't very nice to him but he always cowers away a bit. 'Junior Him' is a tall person, so Teds was a bit nervous but 'Junior Him' quickly won him over with a bit of gentle, manly chat and tummy rubs, so they soon bonded, until he too, mysteriously for Teds, vanished back to his home. Then 'Junior Her', who Teds has met before, showed up. She is a lover of all dogs regardless of age, breed, disposition and behaviour, which is rather lucky for me.... I've always returned that love in bucket loads and Teds is following my sensible example. He adores her.
         This did, however, give him a considerable difficulty which he also experienced to some extent with our other visitors. He suffers from separation anxiety so is at his happiest when his pack are all with him. He was therefore thrown into a dilemma when 'Her indoors' and 'Junior Her' were chatting in the conservatory and 'Him Indoors' was watching TV upstairs, as he clearly couldn't be in both places at once. He tried lying in a position where he could watch the coming and goings from both parts of the house, that way no-one could sneak off and leave him. He also tried patrolling regularly between the two areas, staying for a few minutes in one place but then feeling compelled to check on the other section of the family group. Similarly at night, usually one of his best times as he sleeps next to 'Him and Her Indoors' in their bedroom, and apart from their occasional bathroom visits when he often escorts them there and back, he has the comfort of knowing that they are both settled in one place and he can relax. When 'Junior Her' was home, he felt the need to check up on her during the night, and having satisfied himself she was still there, he could return to snoozing.
         Friday night however, 'Junior Her' went out with friends and 'Her Indoors' was going out to pick her up at midnight. She did her usual thing of getting ready for bed and settled Teds with 'Him Indoors' in the bedroom, then she sneaked out. Teds was not happy when he discovered the deception and barked loudly when they came back, just to show his displeasure. He also doubled his night patrols just to check all was well.
          Saturday, 'Junior Her' went home and Teddy was, quite frankly, exhausted. I don't know why he doesn't just follow my example and sleep through most of it. I roll over when someone comes in through the door so they can tickle my tummy and, if they're truly honoured, I might even get up and wag my tail. What can I tell you I'm a senior fur who needs to ration his energy expenditure.
          Today Teds is making up for all this unsettling socialising by being naughty, which is good to see. When 'Her Indoors' had disappeared to have her shower, he made a bid for the big bed and settled himself comfortably on the duvet. Unfortunately for him,'Her Indoors' had forgotten her dressing gown so came back unexpectedly and he was given a thorough telling off and banished to the kitchen. The only disappointment for me is that it's taken him six months to try this. I would have done it at the first opportunity which is probably why I'm only allowed downstairs.
           Still, I'm sure Teds will learn in time. It's hard to believe it but he's only been here six months and he's still an apprentice after all. There are still quite a few things I've yet to teach him.....
Teds succumbing to the charms of 'Junior Her'
Totally gone....

Teds and 'Junior Him' bonding

Totally gone.....










Thursday, 16 August 2018

Sleeping on the Job!

Now I know I've mentioned this in passing before, but my apprentice, Teds, isn't a very active fur first thing in the morning. He's not keen on getting up, and if he is forced to do so, to check up on the location of 'Him and Her Indoors' for example, having satisfied himself, he will often return to bed. If he is called downstairs, he generally ignores whoever is issuing the request, and if he decides to come down of his own volition, he often does so in stages, pausing for a little rest or two, on the way. If his bed is then moved from the bedroom into its daytime location in the kitchen, he takes up residence in its new position and shows no interest in the preparations for his walk. I'm the eager dog vocalising my anticipation at the door, whilst Teds is happily napping away in his bed. Often 'Her Indoors' has to fasten his harness on whilst he's still lying down, and he only gets up when his lead is attached.
          The other day, he reached new heights, quite literally in fact, and 'Him Indoors' carried him downstairs in his bed like a passenger in a doggy sedan chair, and although Teds opened his eyes, I suspect he was just showing a courteous level of interest because he shut them again as soon as he landed, and continued his snoozing.
          Things are not much improved when we go out for walks. If 'Her Indoors' meets someone she knows and stops for a chat, which is not an infrequent occurrence, Ted lies down for a  little rest. This of course, is a tactical error as there are lots of things an enterprising dog can get up to during one of these interludes in a perambulation. There are things to eat whilst she is not paying attention, other dogs to pass the time of day with if she's talking to a fellow dog walker, leads to tangle, and best of all, another susceptible person to ply for treats using your appealing eyes and trembling like a dog who hasn't seen a square meal in weeks. Depending on the person, I can usually get more than one treat unless 'Her Indoors' intervenes which she occasionally does - she's a spoilsport, what can I tell you! Teds, however, has decided that the time is best spent having a little snooze and he settles himself down in a resigned kind of way until she's finished.
          It's not even that Teds has seniority as an excuse like me. He's only six so he's in his prime. Still, I guess it shows how much more relaxed he is and how well he's settled into his new home. All down to me of course. Anyway, we've put together a little movie of Teds' snoozing highlights. Now, if you'll excuse me, all that writing has made me a bit tired. Move over Teds, let the senior partner rest his paws!










Saturday, 14 July 2018

Ted Tails!

We’ve had an amazing spell of good weather and Teds and I have been taking full advantage. ‘Them Indoors’ have had a big wooden gazebo installed in the garden, pleasingly close to the boundary with Ben, the Leonburger next door, and ‘Him Indoors’ has spent many happy hours painting and varnishing. We’ve finally been allowed in it and Teds just likes lying down in the shade, unless Ben is out, when he tries to get to the fence to bark. ‘Her Indoors’ has been very stern about that and Teds just hasn’t got the metal to be truly naughty, he’s too much of a people pleasing fur, what can I tell you. I can’t get into the gazebo as ‘Him Indoors’ hasn’t built the step yet and it’s too high to jump with my arthritis. If I sit outside and deploy my appealing eyes, ‘Her Indoors’ lifts me in, but then I quickly get restless and jump out again. I can manage that all by myself. After half a dozen or so repeats, ‘Her Indoors’ loses patience which is very unreasonable, and I’m stuck outside. I’ve tried squeezing through the gaps in the side panels but although I’m a slim fur, I haven’t been able to find a way through yet. I’m working on it though...
          Teds has also had to learn about supporting the English football team. I’ve sat through many a painful match in my time and it’s our duty, as dogs, to sleep through the dull bits, bark when the shouting at the TV gets too loud, exploit good cheer when we win and offer dog’s breath lickings when we lose. When ‘Junior Him’ was a boy, he used to cry when the latter happened, now he just sends heart-felt expletives and advice to the team, the coach, the referee and the opposition, via the family ‘What’s Ap’ group. How times have changed! Anyway, Gareth Southgate gets a hearty seal of approval from our family which I’m sure will compensate him for not quite reaching the final. All he needs to do now is to get himself his very own Border Terrier and he’d be pretty much perfect. Perhaps he’d like a copy of my training manual ‘Sit, Stay, Roll Over.’ A celebratory endorsement from a fellow trainer of youngsters would be great. How are you fixed Gareth? My World Cup isn’t quite over yet, as I got France in the BTposse sweepstake. I shall be waving my French stick and exposing my garlic bulbs, like a true football fan on Sunday.
           Teds training is still a work in progress.   I think it would be fair to say that he hasn’t quite got the hang of the TV in spite of my best efforts. He gets traumatised by Supervet, and if there’s a dog chasing a ball and exiting stage right, Teds runs to the right hand side of the TV to look for it. He even goes behind the TV to check it’s not hiding which amuses ‘Them Indoors’ no end! I’ve tried explaining it to him but, to be frank, he’s not as smart as me, although he does his best, bless him.
          He’s also a very reluctant fur first thing in the morning. It takes him about half an hour to make it down stairs and he often stops for a little snooze half way down the stairs. When he can finally be coaxed out for a walk, I’m the one leading the charge, so much so that the other day, someone mixed us up and thought Teds was me! A compliment for a senior fur but not so good for a dog almost ten years my junior.
          One of Teds strengths however, lies in the emissions department. It’s not a natural forte for me, but Teds can do both ‘forte’ and ‘silent but deadly’ with equal skill. He slips a quiet one in when ‘Them Indoors’ are watching the TV, and then joins in with the expressions of disdain and disgust. But the other night he surpassed himself. He tooted so loudly that he woke both himself and ‘Them Indoors’. They soon got an answer to their ‘What on earth was that?’ and ‘Him Indoors’ had to turn the fan on to disperse a miasma of epic proportions. It’s just as well it was a hot night and the windows were open. Anyway, as ‘Junior Her’ was back for the weekend, he sneaked into her room for some fussing, then dropped one in there too, scooting back to ‘Them Indoors’ bedroom quickly, before she realised what was going on, so escaping the verbal fall-out. You’ve got to admit that’s quite skill if you view it in the right light. I’m just glad he doesn’t sleep in the same room as me. My other senses may be suffering from some senior diminishing, but there’s still a fully functioning olfactory department. It’s good to know Teds has a complimentary skills set; always useful in an apprentice, and we will continue to work on his areas for development. After all, he’s only been with us for four and a half months, and as I’m sure Gareth knows, training these youngsters takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day...!

Teds looking all innocent, sleeping.....

The gazebo with missing step but offering potential side entry!



Me, leading the charge!


Teds flaking out, half way down 🙄

          
          


Sunday, 20 May 2018

Post-operative high jinx

It's been quite a week in our household. As suspected, Teddy's tackle, or some of it at least, was endangered by his continued strutting, digging and variable relationships with other male dogs and he was packed off to the Vet for a pre-op check up. I didn't go along, which was a tactical error, as Teds was a 'good boy', lying down and waiting patiently, failing to thoroughly investigate the basket cases and getting on agreeably with all the animals in the waiting room. He even sat down on the scales when asked to, and, to cap it all, left without demanding a king's ransom in biscuits. All in all a rather disappointing performance which left 'Her Indoors' triumphant rather than needing a stiff drink and a lie down in a darkened room like she does when she's taken me.

Her pleasure proved to be rather premature however. When she collected Teddy from the Vets the following day, after his little operation to remove two small but precious anatomical features, she decided that a surgical onesie, rather than a cone, might be easier to manage in keeping him off his stitches. This would probably have worked okay if it wasn't for the fact that the op upset Teddy's tum and, to draw a veil over the sordid details, meant that the onesie spent most of the first day in the wash. This posed a subsequent threat to Teddy's stitches, in spite of 'Her Indoors' eagle-eyed vigilance. However, his coup de grace was in the evening. He had a rather explosive accident on the lounge carpet, and, horrified at his mishap, fled into the kitchen where the same thing happened on the kitchen floor just to complete the set. Teds and I were evicted, unceremoniously, into the garden, whilst clearing up took place. Teddy, seizing the moment in a way that was, quite frankly, admirable, ran down to the bottom of the garden to continue his argument with Ben the Leonburger next door, so 'Her Indoors' had to abandon her carpet rescue attempts and flee after Teddy, worrying about him bursting his stitches. She then tethered him temporarily by the back door and resumed her efforts with the carpet cleaner and copious quantities of kitchen roll, only to find that Teddy was having a good licking of his surgery site whilst he had the opportunity. His onsie still hadn't dried so Teddy ended up wearing 'Her Indoors' swimming costume. I'm not often lost for words but you really had to be there.....

Anyway, as Teddy sleeps in their bedroom, 'Them Indoors' were faced with a dilemma. If they tried to get Teds to sleep in the kitchen no-one would get any sleep, but if they had him in their bedroom they risked a repeat of the carpet incident. In the end they got an off-cut of old carpet and fenced Teddy's bed in so he couldn't wander. Teddy rewarded these efforts by sleeping soundly throughout the night. I have to say 'Her Indoors' did a decent job with the lounge carpet - you'd never know, and they needed a new steam cleaner anyway...

I've just been watching and helping where I can, throughout. Teds has discovered that his onesie has rather baggy legs and he can sneak his snout in for a quick go at his stitches when 'Her Indoors' isn't paying attention. I aid this process by lying close to Teddy and noisily licking my paws so that 'Her Indoors' spins round to castigate Teds only to find he's just lying there innocently. It really is great fun. Honestly, if I'd realised how much mileage you can get out of a second fur, I would have acquired an apprentice years ago. I was initially worried that Teddy was a bit of a 'yes' fur, but clearly getting him to read my training manual, 'Sit, Stay, Roll Over' and implement my advice, was a good move, he's shaping up nicely!
Teddy in his onesie


Saturday, 21 April 2018

My Apprentice

Well, we've had a busy and poignant few weeks with Teddy, our foster Border Terrier. Unfortunately the health of Teddy's owner continued to deteriorate and we got a phone call to say she was very poorly and asking for Teddy, so after phoning the hospital to check it was okay, 'Her Indoors' took Teds over there to see her. Even though she was very ill, her face lit up when Teddy licked her and lay on her bed. She checked that 'Her Indoors' had everything she needed for Teddy and thanked her for looking after him. She departed over the rainbow bridge the following morning. We'd like to share a big, generous barking with Maidstone Hospital for having the compassion to allow Teds and his owner this final goodbye. It was a special, if very sad, moment and one 'Her Indoors' says she'll never forget.

Teddy, having been a star at the hospital, is now staying with us for good as his permanent foster carers for the Cinnamon Trust. 'Her Indoors' celebrated this by making him a bandana with his name on it which he is very pleased with. He wants to watch out that she doesn't get the knitting needles out though, Dog knows where that could end! I've been stepping up his training however, and now that Teddy is relaxing into his new home, we're getting a clearer picture of his personality.

On the plus side, he's upped his game on the low level disobedience, which is encouraging. When we had some workmen in to replace the fence around the veg garden, they made the mistake of leaving their lorry cab door open as it was a hot day. Teds waited his moment and was in there like a shot, rooting around for the packed lunch on the passenger side. The first 'Her Indoors' knew of this was the workman shouting and running up the garden. She was then in the familiar position of dragging a reluctant  Border Terrier out of someone else's vehicle and apologising. This was a display of excellent initiative from Teddy and something I would have done myself, in my younger pre-arthiritis days.

He's also trained 'Her Indoors' into making some purchasing decisions, by putting his rather big and fluffy paw down. She took him for a walk on the Ashdown Forest, and thinking he'd be thirsty, visited the dog drinking bowl at the Visitors' Centre. Teddy was frankly horrified at the whole idea of drinking from a communal cup and refused point blank even though he was clearly thirsty and drank lots when he got home. 'Her Indoors' has therefore bought him a travel drinking bowl and a little water flask so he can have his own refreshments. He will of course be sharing with me, but then I'm not just any old fur.

He's additionally shown some skill in the gardening department. As well as upping the anti in the on-going feud with Ben next door, he's started digging. 'Her Indoors', rather than seeing this in the correct light of Teddy taking the initiative and providing assistance, has taken a dim view. This is all excellent stuff but he wants to be careful. He's an entire male and 'Her Indoors' is starting to mutter about a little visit to the Vet's. Still, they tried this with me and I didn't even break my stride, so much so that 'Him Indoors' did wonder if they should consider removing a few other superfluous body parts to see if that helped. It's just as well I've got a sense of humour.

On the negative side, Teddy took advantage of my good nature and, when 'Junior Her’ was visiting for the weekend, broke the bedroom protocols and went for a little upstairs wander into her bedroom and stole illicit tummy tickles. He is firmly behind me in the queue for that kind of thing and needs to remember who's boss. Still, I got my own back when 'Her Indoors' allowed us both in her office, to take advantage of her fan, on a hot day. I pinched Teddy's crate and drank his water, so he had to lay on the hard floor. That'll teach him!

Still, I have to say I'm pleased with the way things are going. Teddy is a fine fur and it's nice to have some canine company. I was a bit worried about his initial good behaviour, but although I suspect he'll never reach my high standards, he has shown himself to have some potential for mischief. What can I tell you, I know how to pick a good apprentice!

Proud owner of his first bandana

Thirsty Teds on the Ashdown Forest

Showing Teds how to pose for a photo

Teds when he's not barking at Ben or digging in the borders!

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Training the Apprentice

Rather unbelievably, Teddy has been with us now for almost a month, and his owner is still in hospital. They keep talking about moving her to somewhere closer and then we could go for a visit, but so far, they can’t find a bed for her. I could always lend her one of mine; I’ve got a spare. Anyway, when she does move, she’s keen to meet me as well as see Teddy. ‘Her Indoors’ is busy trying to find excuses to leave me at home and just take Teds; she’s got no spirit of adventure, what can I tell you. I’ve never actually been to a hospital, nursing home or hospice, but I’m guessing it would offer plenty of opportunities to a dog of an inquisitive disposition. I could be in with a chance as how could ‘Her Indoors’ refuse the reasonable request of a poorly lady?
      Whilst Teddy has been with us, I’ve been trying to get him up to speed on the basics, and there have been some successes. After a collection of disturbed nights ‘Her Indoors’ finally accepted that if she was going to get an unbroken night’s sleep, she’d have to have Teddy in the bedroom. To begin with, she slept in ‘Junior Hers’ bedroom as she knew, in her absence,  she wouldn’t object to a dog being in there. When ‘Her Indoors’ realised that Teddy doesn’t stir, he just sleeps happy in the knowledge that he’s not alone, she persuaded ‘Him Indoors’ to allow Teds to sleep in his bed, on the floor, next to her side of the big bed. This is working fine and I get the kitchen all to myself so I can get a good sleep too. I need it at my age. When the Juniors found out that not only had ‘Him Indoors’ got a second dog in the house, but he was allowing it to sleep in his bedroom, they expressed concerns about his mental state, but it is of course, all down to me and my careful training. If you haven’t read my training manual, ‘Sit, Stay, Roll Over’ then you really aught to. I’m a master at the top of his game if I say so myself.
      Another success has been teaching Teddy to bark back at the Leonburger, Ben, next door, who seems to think he can boss us small furs around from his side of the fence. ‘Her Indoors’ doesn’t like it, as all the barking is quite noisy, but with two of us on the case, she finds it difficult to round us up and move us on. 
      I’ve had less success so far with what I would term low level disobedience. In fairness, Teddy has tried. When ‘Her Indoors’ calls us in from the garden and I ignore her, Teddy tries hard to do the same, but when she crouches down, opens her arms and calls him in her cutesy voice, he can’t resist. He’s also tried refusing to move out of a room but he’s on a hiding to nothing with that one as he suffers from separation anxiety. If he doesn’t come when called, ‘Her Indoors’ just walks out and leaves him on his own. After a couple of minutes, he can’t hold out any more and trots off to find her. I personally think this is a low tactic, taking advantage of a fur’s inherent weakness, but ‘Her Indoors’ has had years of dealing with me so has learnt to be a bit cunning.
      On balance though, Teddy is doing okay, and he’s shown great promise in the squirrel and rabbit chasing department. I’m looking forward to some team work as the weather improves. We’re sending daily updates to his owner, with photos and video clips to show he’s doing fine, so we’ll just have to see how things go. One thing is for sure, Teddy is welcome here for as long as needs be. I can always find work for young paws.
Just a word in my ear....!
Teddy bristling in his defence of our boundaries
Team Rolo!
Teddy offering passive resistance to the crate
Teddy giving up and complying *sigh*

     

Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Beast from the East!

Well, it's been quite a week. In addition to a spell of unusually severe weather, nicknamed by the media 'The Beast from the East', we've had another unexpected beast, from just east of Heathfield. 'Her Indoors' has being donating a bit of her spare dog walking capacity, now that I'm a senior and don't need much exercise, to a charity called the Cinnamon Trust that provides dog walkers for owners who are elderly or ill. Teddy is a Border Terrier, so although she was already walking two Shelties in Crowborough for the Trust, she naturally couldn't resist and walks Teddy once a week too. Unfortunately, Teddy's owner, Sandra, is very poorly, and he came to stay once before, briefly, just before Christmas, when she was taken into hospital. This time, she was taken in the middle of the night, and due to the snow, a neighbour with a four-wheel drive, brought Teddy over a few days ago and he's been with us ever since.
      Now lots of people on social media have been very kind, and praised 'Her Indoors' for taking Teddy in, but of course, it's really all down to me. 'Her Indoors' made it clear that Teddy could only come and stay if I gave him the paws up. Now, as regular readers of my blog will know, whilst I'm generally good with other dogs, there's the odd one or two, like Gyp the farm dog and that Red Setter from up the road, that I really don't like. I like to keep my criteria for these likes and dislikes a closely guarded secret as it keeps 'Them Indoors' on their toes; they never quite know how I'm going to react. Anyway, Teddy and I instantly hit it off; what can I tell you we're both amiable furs. We did polite tail wagging and sniffing, and I made it clear who was boss, and whose kitchen it was. After this initiation, I've made him welcome by bossing him around, pinching his treats and drinking his water. He might be about a third of my age, and half as big again; he's a chunky fur, what can I tell you, but I call the shots around here and harmony is based on that understanding. Fortunately Teddy is fine with that. When he came back from lying in front of the wood burner and found me stretched out in his rather large bed, he just sniffed, wagged his tail, and pragmatically squeezed himself into my much smaller one. And then, when I changed my mind and wanted my own bed back, he shifted without complaint. The only time I've had to give him a verbal caution was when I thought he was being a bit over-familiar with 'Her Indoors'. I'm definitely first in the queue for tummy rubs if there are any going.
      Still, he does have his draw backs. His circumstances have led to him suffering from bad separation anxiety which means that every time 'Her Indoors' leaves the room, he whines, which is a bit trying. Fortunately, my senior deafness means I can sleep through a lot of this, and 'Them Indoor' are making sure I get some solo napping time so I don't get too tired. However at night, he wakes up and cries, so we've had three broken nights. Last night he just wouldn't settle, and 'Her Indoors' was a bit tired, so in the end they compromised and she slept on the sofa whilst Teddy slept in his bed next to her. I got the kitchen to myself and we all got some sleep. 'Her Indoors' is trying to walk the paws off him in the hope that might help, but at the moment she's the one who's most tired.
     Teddy also has his own view on things which is entirely proper in a Border Terrier. He's not a big eater which quite frankly amazes me. 'Her Indoors' has spoilt the potential of this by feeding us separately so Teddy gets a change to eat his before I help him out. She doesn't want him starving and me increasing in girth, and, of course, she's also a natural spoilsport. Still, when she made some beef stew the other night, and saved me some as is usual in our house, she also saved some for Teddy, which was unduly hospitable in my view. Fortunately, he reacted to it like she was trying to poison him, so I was allowed to finish it up, which was a bit of a result.
      However we do agree on some things. Neither of us like the vacuum cleaner and Teddy sneezed very pointedly when 'Her Indoors' cleaned the kitchen floor. What can I tell you, she has worrying tendencies in the household cleanliness department. He also has similar priorities in pee-mail reading which is good to see. Most promising of all, we understand he's a good rabbiter but unfortunately the weather hasn't been good enough to test this out. With my cunning and his youthful speed, we could be a winning team. I've started him on my training manual to bring him up to speed, and I'm trying to teach him that he's perfectly within his rights to ignore commands from 'Them Indoors' if he sees fit. Naturally, he's trying to be polite at the moment, but hopefully that'll wear off quickly. We don't know how long he'll be with us, but I'm beginning to see the advantage of having a younger set of paws around the place. I wonder if he writes at all.......
Me in Teddy's Bed...
And Teddy squashed up in mine...

A bit of training in true Border Terrier ways


Giving instructions