Friday, 9 February 2018

In Which Everyone Does Something New, and Lots Is Learned

As a dogsitter, I only ever board dogs from one household at a time with me at home. More often than not, that means only one dog at home. It's easy and comfortable for me and my family.

But it doesn't make for much dogsitting, and it means I may not be available for my clients. So occasionally, if someone wants just daycare or overnight, I'll consider taking multiple dogs -- if they're a suitable match.

Yesterday, I did a trial for one such situation.

Ava and Darcy

I trust these two with almost anything, you know that. Meeting strangers, being in public, meeting dogs. But as I learned yesterday, relationship dynamics are always more complicated when there's two of them interacting with a third party together.

Darcy and Sherlock

My current boarder is 3yo cavoodle Sherlock. Tallest cavoodle I've ever seen, and quiet and gentle.


Well, I followed all my usual protocol -- leashed introductions outside my property, but then inside (into the yard) for off-leash as soon as possible. I needn't have worried about Sherlock, who has lived here for the past week, being territorial -- it was Darcy (and Ava?) who barked at him and he backed away, unsure.

Fortunately, things settled once we were inside. Over the day I discovered that Darcy can be pushy with other dogs, that Ava can be the fun police and that Sherlock and Ava can't share tennis balls.

Can you spot the fun police?

But I also discovered that the dogs can be mature enough to settle when separated. So with a little management -- like a lot of things in life! -- they can coexist together.

And I appreciate the joyful moments, like this one:

I loved seeing all the playful body language from Darcy and Sherlock -- and think I've worked out what Ava's behaviour is too. Any guesses?

Saturday, 23 December 2017

In Which We Examine Smudge's Favourite Thing

In the photo of Smudge in my last post, she had a denim bone. This is a toy I hand-sewed from old jeans (stuffed with polyfill and a couple of squeakers) and is Smudge's favourite thing at Chez Melon.

She runs around squeaking it, tossing it up in the air and chasing it, barking at it and growling while she shakes it.

She takes it with her on patrol...

It may be useful on my quest.

She carries it when hanging out...

Waiting for the humans to come out and play.

She picks it up when anyone enters the room and gives you this look.

You wanna play, right?

She can run, pee and bark with the bone in her mouth, although I don't have photographic evidence of this.

She also sometimes sits in bed with it.

I'm not sleepy.

Not if you wanna go and play.

What's your dog's favourite object?

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Character Study: A Gal Called Smudge

Hello dear readers. I hope you're all enjoying the lead-up to Christmas, and aren't too busy with preparations!

And now to my latest furry companion...

Smudge, 1.5 yrs old

Smudge is a young spoodle (cocker spaniel x toy poodle) who will be living with me over the summer while her humans are away. 

She's only been here a few days but I have discovered that she is quite the character!

For one, she's a chatterbox. She likes to narrate her day with a variety of whines, barks and growls. She can be extremely vocal about us leaving the room, although she has since realised that we aren't going to disappear if we go into the hallway. She barks at her toys before pouncing on them. She barks excitedly about food and walks. Sometimes she whines loudly (for no discernable reason). And her growls while wrestling her toys are really quite formidable! 

I guess you could say she has a flair for the dramatic.

She's also very clever. While filming her enthusiasm for toys, I caught a moment where her toy got stuck in the chair and she effortlessly solved the problem: 

The other interesting thing about Smudge is that every member of the family interacts with her in some way. Now, I am the dogsitter. And my dad loves the dogs and always slips them treats (to my constant exasperation), and lets them follow him around the garden and drink from his watering can.

My mum, however, rarely interacts directly with the dogs except to tell me how cute they look doing something. But as she loves to see Smudge play so joyfully, mum's played fetch with her a few times outside. Now every single time mum enters the room Smudge picks up a toy and runs to the garden door. And every single time mum feels guilty... and most times she goes out with her "just for five minutes". 

This is fun! Throw it again!

It's going to be an interesting summer!