Month: June 2013

Bikes and goats

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Chili is being a little annoying lately, killing my beloved tomatoes and bugging Salma. I hope it’s just temporary, yet another disadvantage of puberty. She is approaching 8 months, and can get a lot more difficult from now on. Taking her size in consideration it might take her two years to mature.

Chili became fascinated by goats recently, and everything we pass by children’s farm she runs to the gate and waits for me to take her in. First time she was watching goats while they were eating in a barn. We were standing outside. And today she first observed them from a safety of my lap. Goats where on a pasture, behind a fence and they were showing a lot of interest in us. They even send one of them to come close to us and check out what are we. I didn’t let Chili get to close to them. She could start barking if she feels scared.

We also tired biking for the first time….well it wasn’t too bad. She wasn’t afraid to walk next to the bike. Off the leash in the beginning she kept stopping in front of me and eventually I didn’t break on time and she got hit. t wasn’t hard because I was going very slow but she did get scared and stayed a little bit behind the front wheel. I want her to be able to run next to a bike, but I won’t make it a regular thing. Firstly her joints are to young and secondly I want to spend out time on the walks interacting with her, and making her believe that walking with me is fun.


Salma in the park

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I finally managed to take Salma for a proper long walk in a park. It was wonderful to be just with her and see how much she enjoys running. I really love how she can ignore dogs that are barking at her. We even met a little female dog that ran straight at Salma while growling, and Salma just waited for her to come close and sniff her. It made the little dog calm down immediately.

There was one moment when Salma seemed to be too interested in bushes close by so I took her on a leash (just in case she would get a stupid idea). She was pulling me so I switched the leash from harness to collar. When Salma was small I spend a lot of time teaching her not to pull on collar and at the same time she was allowed to pull on the harness. Later I got more lazy and switched all together to the harness. Now I use the collar when Salma gets too excited. Over three years past but she still knows not to pull on the collar. After she calmed down (and we walked to a big field) I let her off again. I wanted to get tension out of her so we played tag of war with a stick.

She had an ok interactions with dogs but could see that she does have a problem with communicating to young dogs that she doesn’t want to interact with them or that they are getting too intense. She tried laying down and turning her head away and when it didn’t work she started running like crazy. She makes big circles in those situations and that usually gets her far away from the dog that was bugging her. I was very proud of her when we where in a cafe, getting coffee and someone pushed in tense female dalmatian. We where standing in a narrow part of the bar and the poor dalmatian found herself really close to Salma without a way out (there where suddenly a lot of people in the cafe standing by the door). Salma gave the dalmatian a soft eye and waved her tail slowly at the height of her back but not raising it over. It was nice to see the other dog relaxing her body. Fortunately, someone opened the door and she could go outside. I think it’s sad that so many owners don’t even know that they are putting their dog in a difficult situation. Many probably don’t even notice when their dog feels stressed.

The rest of the walk went great and yet again I realized how much I enjoy spending time with my dogs. It really makes me happy 🙂

This is a picture from last year


Eating a dead rabbit wasn’t such a good idea after all

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On Friday evening Chili got a diarrhea and it didn’t stop till yesterday. I forgot to tell Jochem not to lock her in the crate for night and I didn’t make it on time to let her out. So we had a lot to clean. To make sure we will be able to take her outside fast enough I was sleeping on the couch with the dogs for last four nights. It definitely brought back memories of the first two months with Chili which I also spend on the couch. Because she was not getting much better I took her to the vet and she got medicine. And her problems where most likely caused by that dead rabbit she ate last Monday. I should write a whole separate post about the vet who really pissed me off but I don’t want to get angry again. I just wonder how is it possible that most vets I meet have pretty much no idea how to treat dogs. It’s like they don’t have any classes on dog behavior or body language at school. The guy yesterday started to quote Cesar Milan (and  do not care if I misspelled his name), and I just wanted to kick him in the face. You would expect that someone who had to get a higher education to to their job would at least try to look at actual scientific findings about dogs, and not listen to self made moron with a penis complex.

Chili is getting better, but Salma on another hand is a bit restless. I think she really needs a long walk and a proper play time. I will take her to a park tomorrow morning so she can have a proper run.




Rabbit eater strikes again

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Yes, Chili ate another rabbit. Honestly, I had no idea what to do in the moment. I couldn’t physically catch her and when I would run way she chased me while eating the rabbit. It was very disgusting (and as I wrote my master thesis about disgust not many things make me feel sick, but Chili definitely knows how to push my buttons). When we got home I as just sitting with a cup of coffee and worrying over her rabbit eating habit. Ania was trying to make me feel better suggesting that maybe it’s just a phase. The interesting thing was the fact that I saw her smelling something and she looked at me and kept on looking till I started walking in her direction. Only then she grabbed it (rabbit). So maybe there is an element of her testing us somewhere there as well. Jochem told me that when I was gone she saw a dead rat during their walk. And first she looked at Jochem and then jumped to get the rat. Fortunately, she was on the leash so Jochem could take it out of her mouth. I’m so glad I didn’t have to do it. 

I could walk her only on the line till I’m certain her recall is perfect but want her to have off leash interactions with other dogs. I could let her off leash in a muzzle but that as well could make her more uncomfortable with other dogs. I would probably work with the leash but I haven’t decided yet because we don’t find dead rabbits every day, it happened only twice for all the walks that e had in this park.

Other than the rabbit horror story both Chili and Salma are doing pretty good. I even took Salma to Westerpark to work with her on her rabbit issue. We started from the very beginning which means walking in the very first part of the park without loosing contact with reality. Salma did very well, a lot better than I expected. She got a bit too focused on the horizon (that’s one of the things she does when she looks for rabbits) but mostly she was relaxed and responsive. 

Chili is starting to be more confident with dogs while still being polite so that’s a pretty good development. Nevertheless, I really badly have to focus on working with her on the recall. Now we don’t have problems BUT it doesn’t  mean it will not happen. I think I will just work with her step by step using classical conditioning. I need to get some seriously good treats for her. I actually thought of carrying raw meat with me so I can try to exchange it for rabbit 😉

Irish wolfhound?

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Chili was measured again and she gain 2cm within two weeks! Right now at the age of 7 months she is 65 cm tall. And I wanted to have a medium sized dog 😉


Another sick day

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This post is about yesterday, my computer didn’t want to cooperate before.

Jochem was working from home in the morning and he took both girls for a long walk, which meant I could stay in bed longer. Taking care of two dogs while I feel weak and drowsy is difficult, especially since I still have to watch over interactions between them. Fortunately, they actually spend most of the day sleeping together in one room, and only in the evening Chili started to get bored. She was so cute though, trying to find something to do but not bugging me or Salma. I gave them frozen Kongs, and our good old box with newspapers. I did a little bit of training with each of them separately. Retrieving objects and changing positions with Salma. Recall, sit, lay down, stay and heel with Chili.

After their evening walk I was sitting on a couch with both of them, watching as they fall asleep and I felt so happy. This wouldn’t be possible few weeks ago. Back then Salma was spending whole days alone in the bedroom because she didn’t want anything to do with this monster. And rightly so, Chili would continuously attack her. They are not friends yet, and maybe we will never be able to let them run together without control but at least they can coexist and they don’t hate each other. And that makes me happy.Image

A day in bed

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I’m sick for the first time since Chili is here. Yesterday I managed to take her for only one long walk, I pushed myself to walk for an hour but it cost me a lot. It was the first time she went back to the dog part of the park, after the unpleasant interaction with a dog on Sunday. And as we reached the gate to the park she didn’t want to go in. I did “push” her a tiny bit (I asked her to follow me), and she was a bit afraid/careful in the beginning. I was paying a lot of attention to our surroundings to make sure we won’t run into any big dog. We ended up meeting two JRT and a mix small female, and Chili had good interactions with all of them. She was a bit too pushy towards male JRT but he was very clear in his body language and she got the message. 

In the evening dogs were getting a bit restless and I organize a sniffing activity for them. Good old box filled with newspapers and dry food. While one was searching for food the other one was waiting in the crate and then they switched. 

This morning Jochem woke up earlier and walked both of them which was a big relief for me. I could stay in bed longer, and rest a little bit more. Unfortunately, during the day I will have to most likely keep one of the dogs in a crate and keep on rotating them (so that none of them is locked all day). I’m too weak to control their interactions.