Posts tagged ‘introductions’

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

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

Parrots, Petting and Popularity.

Phoenix and Tim.

Phoenix and Tim.

Another trip around town in the sling. Phoenix was a huge hit in the local pet shop. Over a dozen people of all shapes and sizes came up to speak and pet her. One person said she liked the way Phoenix’s skin was so loose – we explained that she still had a lot more growing to do…  More great socialisation experience – as usual she greeted everyone like a long lost friend, despite the towers of dog chews, pigs ears and assorted canine ephemera, she remained remarkably well controlled. We tried to introduce her to Jethro the African Grey parrot but he was more interested than she was.

17/01/2009 at 19:20 Leave a comment

Return of the Party Animal

At large.

At large.

Today’s puppy party was thrown by Tracey B. the “Puppy Guru” lady. She is very cool, and kept a crowd of eight eager pooches under tight (but gentle) control. Tracey is a strong advocate of positive training methods, she’s an animal behaviourist and a member of the International Positive Dog Training Association. Her brand phrase is “respect, kindness, harmony”. The basic principle is you reward every piece of good behaviour and ignore or interrupt any undesirable ones and NEVER punish your dog.*

Tracey also works with violent teenagers using the same techniques so, respect due!

Apart from a spaniel, Phoenix was the largest dog there, this didn’t stop her getting out and about and pressing the flesh though- she was polite and enthusiastic and remarkably self controlled. She did struggle during the early part of the party, as the dogs were let off the lead one at a time over the two hours, for around ten minutes.

No problems in the car – now definitely established as the provider of good things and the vet as her favourite place EVA!!!

*I love the fact that nothing is ever the puppy’s fault, it’s always the owner who’s to blame for not thinking ahead. It’s a very “oy vey iz mir” approach, but it works.

12/01/2009 at 23:37 Leave a comment

Gotta love those ears!

Love those Ears!

Love those Ears!

First ride in New Sling.

First ride in New Sling.

Did we mention the baby sling? Well, it came a few days ago, and today we took Phoenix out to our nearest town, Torrington, as part of her socialisation programme. Phoenix can’t go on the ground until her second set of injections have taken effect.

Not many people around, the wind was strong and she found this a little disconcerting – ears a-flapping. We met a labrador and human friend, after checking his vaccinations were in order, they had a brief interaction which went well for everyone.

Today was also the day Phoenix discovered the joy of empty plastic milk bottles. Despite an array of expensive designer dog toys, she prefers to hurtle around with an  old milk container in her mouth. This must be a variation on the “kid prefers the cardboard box to the toy inside” routine.

11/01/2009 at 17:21 Leave a comment

Party Animal

Tim trying out new sling indoors.

Tim trying out new sling indoors.

First attempts at “stacking” using the clicker and treat method – as a preparation for Phoenix’s big turn in the (future?) show ring…show-biz is calling.

… we had a semi hunger strike on our hands. Phoenix took  a look at her biscuit based breakfast and basically refused to eat – where’s the good stuff? Y’know the meaty stuff. Biscuits no longer working as a treat – not cutting the mustard anymore. Luckily we’d already stocked a freezer up with her specialist raw food. We made a 50/50 blend of raw food and biscuit, mixing them up. This was accepted without any problem.

There were only a couple of other dogs at the puppy party – organised by the lovely nurses at the vets in their own time – seven were expected and only two turned up.  A springer-spaniel called Sasha (who barked a lot – an unfortunate trick which Phoenix immediately took up as her own. Arf and indeed Arf!). The other party animal was a beautifully trained 14 month old rescue border collie belonging to one of the nurses.

Sasha was quite timid and over-awed by the whole thing and also by Phoenix’s confidence and bouncy demeanour.  Phoenix and the collie had an intensive play session and as usual she gave as good as she got…

Sleep update: not much of a problem, a bit of a howl at night but then all is well.

Chewing: oh, the chewing! We have been following the advice of Ian Dunbar (“Before and After Getting Your Puppy”) who says you should allow your dog to bite you in order to give appropriate feedback as to the intensity of the bite, so they can gradually soften the bite pressure. This is called bite inhibition. She seems to be softening her bite: only mouthing gently…

08/01/2009 at 17:36 Leave a comment

The Joy of Chicken Wings…

Meeting Indi.

Meeting Indi.

This was the day that Phoenix met Indigo – Tim’s mother’s blue rescue Greyhound – as well as Tim’s mother herself! Phoenix was fantastically excited and tried to goad Indi into playing with her,  sadly to no avail. Indi was very patient and long suffering as Phoenix romped all over her and it became a valuable early lesson in canine etiquette for the eager pup…

Phoenix flipped into seeing the outdoors as an adventure playground full of untold pleasures and sensory delights today, no longer afraid of the space around her.

Phoenix woke twice in the night and we took her out to go to the loo. Otherwise sleeping through to 7.00am without any problems. She’s sleeping in the bedroom with us (in her own crate, we’re not that soft) and finds the sound of our breathing comforting.

We started to introduce the raw diet to Phoenix today. She had her first chicken wing in the evening which she found to be the most  exciting thing  she had ever encountered. She was thrilled with it and demolished it over 25 minutes looking very pleased with herself as a result.

07/01/2009 at 17:29 Leave a comment

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