Sunday, 27 May 2012

Blue survives more training

Training so far has continued to make progress, Blue has continued to flourish.

While out on walk recently it felt like we had become so much more tuned into one and other. Gone was the need to seek alpha male domination, for us both.

One thing that I have learnt in life is fear and violence breed fear and violence from those who fear it the most.

So progress is made, we are both equally satisfied with our new found male bonding, man and dog in perfect harmony. Well that might be stretching it a bit far, however we are moving towards a more fulfilled experience not only for us, but for my wife, Sue, and those whom now can see Blue in his relaxed self.

Today there was a reminder of how Blue is more than capable of not just learning new experiences, but he is a big,powerful and wilful German Shepherd.

While Sue was in Argos, we sat  in the car waiting patiently, but with soaring temperatures this was no place for me and Blue to sit without any shade. As this was not a planned excursion, he only had his training lead and not his halti attached. Out of the car with water bottle in hand, we went for a wander. It took all my strength to restrain Blue from entering Argos with me attached, successfully restrained next was Hobby Craft which was an equal challenge. Blue did respond to the command leave, and we returned to a shady area near the car, where Blue quickly settled into a "down position" and took no notice of the compliments dished out to him by passers by.

One of the biggest concerns this week was how Blue would react to the incessant heat. He does not like it but he knows where shade can be found, and is surviving on a change in his walk pattern.

On our early morning walk, Blue still gets a bit excited by squirrels, but with a strong "leave" command order is soon restored. But today at the University of Reading we meet a squirrel with an attitude. Unlike his two companions that scarpered as Blue and I approached, he sat on his haunches as if to say "this is my pathway and I am staying, you go round, I ain't moving".

The "leave" command told Blue no action was necessary on his part, as there was nothing to get excited about. Realising perhaps that with the two of us still approaching, the squirrel decided, nah it's too warm for a challenge and disappeared leaving us to watch his fluffy tail disappear to follow his mates.

So there you have it, a continuing tale of both learning and respect, I am so proud to walk along with Blue, and knowing the trust Blue puts in me, how could I ever let him down.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Dog Training our German Shepherd

One week into the new training with Blue has brought about some great results.

The method was to correct some bad behaviour, which for a four year old dog weighing 45 Kilograms was not acceptable

Though not vicious his sheer size and weight could easily cause harm or panic to others including cats, dogs, squirrels.

We had previously attended different training schemes, two of which were basically to meet bad behaviour with physical repremand, though neither my wife or I are comfortable with this course of action something needed to be done. With typical traits of a pedigree German Shepherd once he got focused his will power was as strong as his physical presence.

Majority of walking was done by wife Sue, who has just under gone a recent foot operation, which took her out of dog walking for the foreseeable future.

So it was me and Blue, out there facing the world and all its challenges, things did not go well, joggers, cyclists, vans, lorries, cars, cats squirrels basically anything that moved in the wrong manner was fair game. We tried to watch some skateboarders in the local park but his antics was causing them to fall off their boards with Blue,strain at the leash.

An animal behaviourist,called Sam, came to our house when Blue was younger, and she said he is not vicious but his energies need to be refocused on something more playful. Unfortunately Blue required corrective spinal surgery at 7 months, this played a significant part in his lifestyle and how we wanted to treat him, we did not want to beat a dog into submission after what we went through following that major operation, I will talk more on this in a later blog.

So, the new method was tried; A plastic drinks bottle full of water was taken out on our walk. As we walked out of the house, squirrel alert Blue meets the challenge with barking and spinning into his usual death roll on a lead, whoosh, silence.
When I squirted him in the face with the water, instantly it broke his focus, and with a sorrowful look, he looked me eye to eye with pity in his face as if to say, why did you do that.

Since that initial incident the water has only left the bottle once more to date, all other times the mere shaking of the bottle brought instant focus on me and not the challenge in front of Blue.

There has been such a change in him this method does no lasting damage and does not attract much alarm to passers by.

There is still work in progress, but it is lovely to walk Blue on a loose lead and enjoy a much more relaxed walk, he certainly gets much more from his new lifestyle.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Because Blue has a few problems out walking, I tried a new techniqe which involved carrying his water bottle and when he was distracted or his focus was on something else it helped him re-focus on my commands.

Challenges today were
  • Free running dogs
  • People crossing his path
  • Someone sat in a shelter minding their own business
  • Skateboarders in the park
But his biggest test was the escaping cat from the bushes.

The bottle was used just once, (the incident with the cat), Blue went from calm to balistic back to calm in two seconds flat.

I do hope this is the start of trouble free walks, today was an absolute pleasure walking him through the park and surrounding streets.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


If thyere a few things that I dislike it is joggers and jack russells.

I am often getting told off by my Mum and/or Dad but one day they will get used to my ways.

As my life is eventful and often caotic it was thought a good idea to share with the world.