Tuesday, 4 February 2014

When size matters

Jessie visited us for the first time ... she's a cheeky little Cockerpoo, about a year old, as cute as a button and as daft as a brush! Jessie owns my sister Tina and they live in Hampshire, so we don't get to see them often.  When Tina rang to say she was heading our way yesterday, we were delighted to be able to arrange a visit to the park for a catch up.

Tina trying to arrange Polly and Jessie for a photo

We headed towards the football pitches first to let our girls off lead, so they could race around in excited doggy circles together.  Polly is much larger and heavier than Jessie, which meant every so often there would be a hair raising moment as our girls became entangled, rolling together in crazy cartoon style ... thankfully Jessie came out unscathed each time, happy to continue play with her big bouncy puppy pal.  For a tiddler, that Jess is one tough cookie!

Mmmn, Auntie Tina's home baked fish 'n spud treats ...

Mote Park is popular with dog walkers and because of that, a big challenge for Polly in terms of recall, particularly with the many small dogs out walking and of course, the lovely lake which just invites mischief for any water lovin' goldie!  So after a good run with Jessie, a game of ball with Auntie Tina and a spot of 'down stay' practice, I popped Miss Polly on a heavy duty retractable lead to continue our walk ...

Snap! We almost got there but Jessie, you're looking the wrong way!

Jessie has also been training hard at school with her mum back in Hampshire and now has a solid recall in place, so she was allowed to run free, saying hello to passing dogs and their humans before returning smartly to Tina whenever she called.  

I wanna ride on the swan mum!

As an owner of a large dog, I couldn't help but notice how less intimidating it is for walkers to see a cute Jessie sized dog approaching, than it would be to have a big bouncy Pollster running towards them.  A cheeky little 'un can usually run round in circles, jump and say hello to passersby, then quickly run back to their owner when called, without raising so much as an eyebrow, but if a large dog approaches in similar fashion, the outcome can be quite different; for example, on previous walks I have seen non-dog owners freeze as Polly ran towards them, which is fair enough when they don't know her gentle nature.  So, as an owner of a reasonably large dog, I've come to the conclusion it's important to continue working to develop recall from a good basic level to a 'pretty darn sharp' level, or ideally, until the understanding 'wait for an invitation before making your doggy introductions', is in place. I wonder, is that too ambitious for my girl?!  (Oh and yes, I admit the incident with the horse (previous post) is still making me think long and hard about how much freedom my gorgeous girl is truly ready for ... #anxiousmum!)

Paddling at the park with Auntie Tina and Jessie

After the heavy rainfall we've had in Kent lately, the lake was completely flooded, so naturally we couldn't resist letting our girls have a paddle while we sloshed in our wellies ... who said puddle jumping was only for kids, ha!

Hey Jessie, let's give mum the runaround!

By the time we returned to the car park, both dogs were soggy and sleepy.  Tina popped Jessie into her posh zip-up towel baggie to warm her up and when they pulled away from the car park, little Jess was fast asleep and snoring in her fleecy car seat. Aw bless!

Snug as a bug!

It was a lovely walk, sharing our girls at the park.  
Have a safe trip home Jessie and Tina, we'll see again you soon.
With lots of love, Polly and Paula xxx

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