Tuesday, 25 July 2017

A Shout-Out: To The Best Clients Ever

You all know how much I love my cavvies, Ava and Darcy. But it's time I told you why.

I had a difficult week last week. My anxiety triggered a depressive episode so I was missing in action for a few days. Then a client's dog dropped off for boarding turned out to be dangerous, so that had to be (carefully) managed.

Today, I pulled up outside Ava and Darcy's house. I heard barking and shook my head, thinking they had heard me. But it wasn't them, just a neighbour's dog. Sorry, Darcy.

Why do they always suspect me?

I went in, and their wagging and jumping began, but I wasn't jumped on. Ava waited quietly and Darcy wriggled and leaned on the fence, but he did very well for a 9-month old.

The pups toileted where they should and amused themselves while I cleaned, ate and took a breather. I was super impressed that they waited for an invitation before availing of my very-accessible lap when I sat in the lawn chair. That is an impressive feat for my sweet-as-pie lapdog friends!

All dogs are bred for a purpose. Ours is to sit in laps.

To further sweeten the deal, it was a good day for Ava's famous #FOMO (fear of missing out). A handful of kibble in her slow-feeder bowl kept her occupied while I took her brother out for a walk. And 'disaster Darcy' truly is a disaster no more as he walked along, politely greeted a lady who wanted to pat him and waited patiently when I 'parked' his lead under my shoe to chat to a neighbour.

It was the best tonic after a difficult week.

Yes, I'm proud of 'my' pups. But the real credit goes to the humans. Christina and Tim have done a marvellous job at raising these two dogs. They are happy, healthy, friendly and fun to be around. This is thanks to the time they've have put into them. Both working full-time with long hours, you wouldn't think they'd be able to put that work into their dogs.

But Ava and Darcy wouldn't be so good just from my training. Tim's driving the dogs to puppy school and the park, Chris getting up early to take the pups out, diligently bathing, brushing and grooming the dogs so they're used to it. Playing training games and buying endless toys. Their super-sensible attitude, trust in my dog training skills, and willingness to try my suggestions (even the weird ones!) are all what made Ava and Darcy who they are.

Don't listen to her, Darcy. We're naturally this cute.

I have the best job because of your two munchkins, guys. They do you great credit.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Selfie Sunday

Hi guys!

Today's Selfie Sunday is brought to you by Dodge the part-time Boston terrier, part-time Batman and full-time cutie.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

A Happy Update: In Which Melon and Darcy Work Together

So you guys know that 8-month-old Darcy has a problem with walking on the lead*. Meaning, all he wants to do is rush over to anything and everything, be it animal (human, canine or avian), plant, rock or... plain air, as far as I can tell!

Your point?

And all I, Melon, want to do, is walk down the street without the pup running onto the road, leaping after birds or scrambling into the bush... is that too much to ask?

Hey, what's over there?

I was really beginning to think it was. So much that I suggested his humans buy some equipment to reduce his pulling (like a head halter -- not that I've ever seen a cavalier in one!).

But I also didn't want to let this defeat me. Call myself a dog trainer, and can't even teach a ~5kg puppy to walk on a lead? (Size doesn't directly affect trainability, but it does affect ability to hold onto a pulling dog!) So for the past fortnight or so I've tried to take Darcy for at least a ten to fifteen minute walk every time I visited. Why such a short walk? Because my patience for stopping and starting wears off after about ten minutes!

Seriously. Why are we stopping again?

But it turns out that patience in the form of a little each day has made a difference -- I think. I don't want to speak too soon, but I feel Darcy is finally showing some improvement in the skill of what we trainers call 'loose lead walking'. As in, he can sometimes walk down the road like a 'normal' dog...

Here's a tiny snippet of our walk today.

In the middle you see a glimpse of what our 'walks' have looked like for the past 6 months, but you can see that he can also walk much, much better too!

Walking near people, dogs or his sister are still out of the question, but hey, I'm just thrilled to see progress!

I'm proud of myself as well as this kid and can't wait to see where else we can go -- figuratively and literally!

* lead = Australian for leash, guys. Or "the string", as Darcy called it.