Thursday, 30 June 2016

Beach babes, dining out, sheep and cows

We wondered how little Betty, only a year old, would cope on her first holiday away from home, but we needn't have worried, Miss Boo travelled well, settled well and holidayed well!

The drive to Devon took six hours with our girls travelling on the rear seat of the car, safely secured in their safety harnesses. We stopped three times along the way for wee breaks, snacks and leg stretches and they were as good as gold, snoozing between breaks and whilst awake, cheerfully watching the world fly past through the car windows ... it made me wonder what on earth they must make of it all!

On arrival at our East Devon holiday home, we were met by a welcoming committee of thirteen curious cows at the bottom of the garden, with only a low wire fence between us ... there were also hundreds of sheep in the field!  'Good job I packed the long lines' I thought, making a grab for them before my girls had an opportunity to race to the fence to create countryside chaos!

I put on my best training head to teach my 'townie' girls how to behave politely with their new farm neighbours.  It was a challenge at first because the girls were rather excited at the prospect of having an enormous field full of new pals to chase along the fence, but being bright girls, they cottoned on quickly and within a couple of days were behaving calmly enough for me to remove the long lines and allow them to play freely in the garden while I kept a sharp eye on them.  It didn't take long for us all to relax and in fact it wasn't a cow or a sheep which caused a problem in the end, it was a tiny brown rabbit!  On our last day, Betty spotted the little mite and hurled herself through the dense 10ft tall hedging at the front of the property, to give chase.  Fortunately clever bunny won the race and the road the other side of the hedge was quiet that early in the morning, so she was quickly called back to heel and frog-marched back to the garden - yet again, I thank my lucky stars for recall training!

Speaking of recall training, what an absolute joy it has been to allow my girls to explore the local 'dog friendly' beaches each day, safe in the knowledge they would return at the beep of a whistle.  Betty had her first experience of the seaside and after an initial jaw drop at the magnitude of everything, followed big sis's lead and enjoyed an inaugural dip of her paws.  She and Polly had so much fun exploring the shoreline together and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed watching them.

Not only have the girls visited beaches, hiked scenic hills and learned how to behave on country roads with no pavements, they have also promenaded obediently along the seafront with us on their leads, sat politely outside seafront cafes whenever we stopped for a sandwich or an ice-cream (yes they were paid for their good behaviour with the end of our ice-cream cones!) They even came to dine with us at the local thirteenth century pub, where they settled quietly as we tucked into a first class meal of seabass for me, ribeye steak for him and 'Bonios' under the table for Polly and Betty.

Our week away has been relaxing, great fun with the girls and joy of joys, even helped Betty learn not to pull on the lead so hard. Since returning home, I've been able to ditch the head harness and walk my little steam train on a 'Perfect Fit' harness, the same as Polly, which is a big step forward for us!  

As for Polly, she's been so well behaved while we've been away and has worn a big soppy grin on her face all week, there's no doubt in my mind, Poll LOVES going on holiday and now that little sis can come too, it's even better!

We've received many compliments regarding Polly and Betty's standard of behaviour during our holiday and I don't mind admitting, I've been very proud to walk them each day ... it is always a real pleasure to have them complimented.

Well done girls. You make me a very proud goldie mum.


Monday, 13 June 2016

Here comes Summer

Polly and Betty are enjoying their Summer walks, bouncing through as much long grass as they can find and generally making the most of outdoors, now the warmer, drier (yay!) weather has at last arrived.  Betty's obedience training is coming along well and her tendency to pull is on the decline (hallelujah!) She's loving her 'Real Life' classes (as is Polly) and I must admit to a sneaking pride whenever I take her out and about, because she is so eager to show how well behaved she can be - owner heaven!  Just in case I am in danger of sounding a little too pleased with myself, you may be delighted to hear my clever little girl has recently also learnt how to roll in fox poo .... urgh!

As for big sis Polly, she's three and a half now and has settled beautifully.  For a while last year, she went through a phase of being a bit grumpy with other dogs if she was lead walking with little sis (I think she thought she needed to guard me and Betty) but with plenty of consistent training around other lots of different dogs (our Real Life training classes have been a terrific help in this respect) she's much improved and now able to say hello to oncoming dogs in a calm and friendly manner again. She's also much calmer with other dogs generally when she plays off lead now. I can't recommend consistent, targeted training highly enough, as it really can pay dividends when you stick with it and make an effort to look at life through your dog's eyes.

We'll be heading off to Devon for a holiday with our girls this Summer ... can't wait!
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