Posts filed under ‘Socialisation’

Water Baby.

Tim and Phoenix at the Pond.

Fishing Lesson.

It’s come to our attention that Phoenix (and doubtless other Hungarian Wirehaired Vizslas too) is at least part dolphin. Be it the river, the pond or the stream, Phoenix is rarely happier than when swimming, wading, paddling in or barking at various forms of water around the garden.

15/02/2009 at 01:14 1 comment

The Pack Expands.

With Fred in the River.

With Fred at the River.

Although they met when Phoenix was six weeks old, Freddie (who is Tim’s son) had not spent some “quality time” with Phoenix since she arrived here, due to his pressing international engagement schedule and general jet set lifestyle. The two were reunited today and much play ensued gilded with yaps, barks, nips and squeals from all parties.

14/02/2009 at 16:31 Leave a comment

A.D.D. hits Show Ring Horror.

Ringcraft pre-stack positioning.

Ringcraft pre-stack positioning.

First proper ringcraft session for Phoenix under Judge Glenys Sykes of Daraquist English Setters. Phoenix was typically excited and indeed excitable in the midst of twenty-odd other dogs.  She was highly praised for her spirit (!),  although a little more control would certainly have made the evening less like a wrestling match and more like a dream walk in the ring…

still, everyone was extremely complimentary (at least to our faces) and hopefully Tim’s handling skills will slowly improve alongside Phoenix’s concentration.

Ringcraft examination (not Glenys!)

Ringcraft examination.

There were lots of really nice people at the session and we met some of the heavy hitters in the gundog show world .

Phoenix’s status as an only dog at home seem to mark her out as being notably more “animated” than any other puppies present, all of whom came from multi-dog households. Once again, all we can do is persist with her canine socialisation programme, and hope that we can get her as focused in the ring as she is at home.

11/02/2009 at 15:41 Leave a comment

Out for Tea.

We took Phoenix to meet our friend Robie, she’s not a big dog fan, but seemed to like our large eared lady. Of course Phoenix did slightly let the side down by chewing on Robie’s rugs – but I guess we should have taken a stuffed kong to distract. I don’t think we’ve been banned, but it took a good deal of playing the cute puppy card to get away with it. It also helped that one of us faked a heart murmur to take the heat off of her.  Oh, and there were flapjacks and a trip to the Common too,  but nothing exciting happened.

01/02/2009 at 01:47 Leave a comment

Shopping Hell.

Emo Kids Didn't Stop the Tail Wags.

Emo Kids Didn't Stop the Tail Wags.

More trips to the common, for the first time we were recognised by a group of owners (and possibly the dogs too). One of the owners called out “Hellooooo Phoenix” much to Phoenix’s utter delight. Good playtime with different dogs today. She seems to be getting (a little more) respectful and calmer around her boy and gal-pals.

A trip to Barnstaple High Street proved to be wearing for all concerned. We think around 40 people came up to say “Hello”, and at least the same number sidled off, or around us, with looks of sheer horror on their faces.  Progress was slow and Phoenix was extremely excitable although far from overwhelmed despite the enormous number of people, cars and general bustle. Phoenix met her first emo-kids too and was unfazed by eyeliner, black clothes and downbeat facial expressions. There was a brief moment of embarrassment when she jumped up and chewed someone’s scarf, oh and a little girls long, flowing hair – which was “challenging”.

We also met a lovely lady who had just rescued an Irish Wolfhound from high rise hell in Liverpool. The poor dog was being looked after by three aggressive teenage boys and a sweary mum – luckily he was now in his new home and being described as “an angel” by his new human companion.

On a final note, we were impressed by Phoenix’s fantastic lead work on the common today, we suspect this will all evaporate at Monday’s Puppy Gurus class – teach will have a sceptical look on her face as we insist that Phoenix does sit, stand and walk to heel. We might have to video Phoenix just to prove we’re not pushy showbiz parents…

However, in a noisier environment all the lead work etc vanished, due to the over-stimulation from the throngs of people. Who knew emo-kids could be overstimulating?! It was her first time ever in that environment and she took to it with all paws flying.

31/01/2009 at 21:17 Leave a comment

No Sir, She’s NOT a Ridgeback.

Bored with your Guesses.

Bored with your Guesses.

Twice more over to the common today, with another twenty to twenty-five dogs met, sniffed and played with (along with their attendant human companions).

Phoenix is now 10.3 kilos – our gal is growing up! Tottering out of the car with her is certainly bicep building…

Top Breed Misidentification Guesses so Far

  1. Rhodesian Ridgeback (not close, no cigar, no money back).
  2. Generic Pointer (close, but no cigar)
  3. Weimaraner (close, candy cigar)
  4. Visssssssla (you’re not even comin’ in mate)

29/01/2009 at 21:07 1 comment


Meet 'n' Greet

Meet 'n' Greet

Ringcraft Day! Phoenix was invited to a meet ‘n’ greet at the Ilfracombe and District Canine Society, with a view to joining in the ringcraft training a little later on. We were warmly welcomed by Maria and friends, to an extremely busy dog and people packed town hall, where ringcraft practice was already in full swing. This wasn’t a quiet gathering or bohemian soiree,  more like a full on dog-fest with over 30 canines and  fifty people.

We were there for two hours where both Phoenix (and us) engaged in non-stop chin and tail wagging (respectively). Notable meetings for Phoenix included a gaggle of King Charles Spaniel puppies, a truly enormous dog Weimaraner, a lovely maternal long haired dachshund, various golden retrievers and a plethora of Staffies. All of whom were very happy to get to know Phoenix.

We had a high level of excitement all throughout the evening but Phoenix calmed down by the end of the evening. Extreme doses of dog seem to be working already.The other notable event of the evening was meeting the first (and perhaps only?) person to know what breed Phoenix was. He came over and said “I used to look after 12 of these”!

28/01/2009 at 20:48 Leave a comment

Emancipation Proclamation.

Heeling on the Common

Heeling on the Common

Phoenix is eleven weeks old today. It’s quite hard to get your head around the fact she’s only been on the earth for less than three months. It feels like she’s been with us forever (in a good way – well,  mostly!).

Perhaps even more importantly,  Phoenix is now allowed on the ground and can socialise with other dogs. Something that both we and she were desperately keen to get started with in order to desensitise her to other dogs, and learn that not every dog is an exciting puppy-like playmate (although some still will be, which is always a bonus in life).

With this in mind,  after following the usual morning routine of clicker training and heel walking at home, we headed out for Torrington Common to see what canine introductions we could rustle up for the little’un.

To begin with, Phoenix was excited but “contained” and walked very closely with us without too much prompting.  She met an extremely playful Malamute with whom she had a great romp for five minutes or so.  Next up was a grumpy collie who also taught her a crucial lesson about canine etiquette (i.e. not all dogs are puppies and not everyone wants to play). 😦

More Healing on the Common,

More Heeling on the Common,

Finally, amongst a rather sparse showing, were a pair of Chows who despite their reputation as being the dogs most likely to eat their owners*, turned out to be relatively friendly and of course extremely fluffy. Everyone enjoyed a good sniffing session. Later in the day we went back and met eight dogs who gave Phoenix a kaleidoscope of different reactions from gentle playful Clumber Spaniels to a snarly Black Labrador who we gave a wide berth.

Yet More Healing on the Common.

Yet More Heeling on the Common.

Overall, a pretty intensive day for Phoenix but mission was definitely accomplished in terms of canine socialisation V.1

*this was quoted in an episode of Pushing Daisies and is of course untrue.

27/01/2009 at 20:07 Leave a comment

Full On Wrestling Match!

Puppy Gurus Day! This was the first time we took Phoenix to her (our?) obedience class.  Unfortunately, her vaccination status is such that she’s still not able to be let on the ground with other dogs. However, she was able to “mingle” with the other vaccinated puppies in class.

She started as she meant to go on, by submissively urinating on the floor in front of an ultra-bouncy collie. It was all a little frustrating because her lack of contact with other new dogs means that she “over-reacts” when she does finally get to socialise with the canine kind. All our previous training obviously gets filed away  somewhere in the deep recesses of her doggy mind.

Hopefully, this is something that will improve rapidly after tomorrow when we can start mixing her with the general dog population.  On the plus side, Phoenix did (eventually) remember how to sit, lie down and stand after bribery with garlic laced liver chunks (yum!). Ultimately, she was more interested in meeting and greeting the other five pups. Roll on tomorrow and the biog wide world….

26/01/2009 at 02:57 Leave a comment

Fan Club.

On the Town.

On the Town.

Big Day Out today. We took Phoenix (by sling)  into Torrington where she was spoken to and touched by about twenty people. She saw lots of machines, cars, lorries, and a  few other dogs too. Lots of cooing and comments of “adorable”. Somebody else stopped us in the street by saying “I had to say ‘Hello’ to her, I couldn’t help myself”. Somebody else asked “Is she a Visssla?” then wandered a way saying “I thought so”, before we could vigorously intervene…

We also carried Phoenix down to the river and she went in up to her waist – boldly striding into the fast flowing and quite deep water, quite merrily. We knew that WHVs had an affinity for water, but this had not really been demonstrated in the way she looks disapprovingly at the rain and generally turns her paws up if we have to take her out in the wet.

We also had a lovely walk in the Winter sun along the river around the bottom of the garden. Phoenix is fantastically attentive and trots quite merrily alongside you as you walk. No pulling on the lead at all. She’s walking to heel really well. All the books say this is a tough nut to crack so we’re very pleased that Phoenix has managed it so quickly in such a distracting and stimulating environment.  Stuffed kongs all round.

24/01/2009 at 18:59 Leave a comment

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