Saturday, 29 June 2013

Sunshine and walking


Blue enjoyed two good walks today, the first at 06:30 for 65 minutes, starting with an amble around the park, before playing with his favourite tennis ball off lead.

The remaining 45 minutes were spent walking around the local streets and roads, which was nice and relaxing for us both, returning back home to a well earned breakfast with the wife.

Grass cutting is a favourite of Blues, rounding up the lawn mower as we walk along, with the odd interruption to test the grass either playing football, or just burying his head in the grass bag, like an ostrich in the sand, and always the occasional goading from Blue to up the anti and make it a more rough and tough game. We both know each others buttons which is good.

Following rest and brunch we all three went for an hour long walk around the grounds of the local University, again tennis ball is along with Blue, my wife Sue and me.

As much as Blue enjoyed chasing after his ball in the long wild meadow grass, excuse the pun, the flower seeds and pollen were getting up his nose, but only a minor inconvenience.

As the temperature was in the early twenties, Blue feels the heat in the direct sun, which is a quick drain on his stamina, so one hour of fun in the sun is enough for this GSD.

Carrying Blues water bottle is ideal for these conditions, so he can keep up his fluids, so we have returned home for dinner and no doubt within an hour he will be raring to go, which will mean more football in the garden, bless him.

Below is an old YouTube of Blue behaving well with the lawn mower.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Angels and Demons (All in one special GSD)



Two side of one dog, why you need to understand the special breed of dog that is the German Shepherd.

Blue is German Shepherd, who turned five in May 2013, though he is not our first dog, he is our first German Shepherd, I do not claim to be an expert on the breed, behaviour or training of such a special breed, but by sharing an overall picture, it is meant to enlighten others to help them go through some of the darker sides of this magnificent creature, and show that there are two sides they need constant work to maintain a balanced and happy family pet and guardian.

When we first see Blue, he was one of a large litter, he was black all over and was our first choice, after a couple of visits he was soon ready to leave the litter and join us in our home, the breeder advised us to use a crate, which we gratefully received the loan of.

So we took home our little angel of fluffy fur, and introduced him to the family home.

Crate training is a good positive experience for a puppy used in the right way, it must never be used as punishment, and they say things happen for a reason, Blue benefited greatly later in his puppy life after his spinal operation.

So where am I going with this Angels and demons thing; Well here goes;

There was a little bundle of fluffy fur that entered our home, as cute as can be, he came equipped with little teeth and an attitude to match a dog ten times his size. Bare feet were an obvious target, easy overcome by wearing shoes, training and socialisation were high on our agenda, we wanted Blue to enjoy those things our previous dog was not able due to his limitations and anxiety.

Blue was always confident, in fact maybe over confident, his main way of communicating was either with his teeth or by flattening things with his paws, and combining both by jumping up.

Seeking advice through the supportive breeder, all attempts to curb the unsocial side of Blue, positive play, raising of voices, ignoring bad behaviour noise distraction, all failed and this little puppy was growing and causing more pain on his victims, puppy training started to make a difference but then came the set back that he required immediate spinal surgery.

Then Blue the little angel worked with us to ensure that his rehabilitation was given the best chance, through hydrotherapy and much care and attention Blue was more mobile and returning to his old self.

Sadly this is where the demon side returned, bigger and stronger, he was now inflicting wounds and pain on his victims, primarily on my wife Sue. Bruising and bit marks on the arms were the norm, finally after kicking off in the local park, she was not able to take Blue out on her own, this was now a point where we were at our closest to giving up on Blue. Tears of hurt and frustration were there on a daily basis.

Our saviour was a few miles away, a company called Aquadoggies ran a pool for dogs, this was the outlet that he needed, a serious chance to burn off some aggression and pent up energy, this helped all of us and the benefits are there to see.

Blue did not become a good dog overnight, our target of getting him to his second birthday was the turning point, and while others offered ideas it was a very difficult period to get through.

Blue is our Angel, with a dark side that now lurks way down, but occasionally bubbles to the surface but to a much lesser effect.

Others have trod this same path, unable to go on, either physically or mentally beaten, so my advice is this, however bad it gets, there is an answer out there, and many willing helpers.

We now joke about how Blue would go from 1 through to six and then to 10 with his temperament, now he goes from 1 through to eight before reaching 10, and demonstrates familiar traits as pre-warning signals.

For the record Blue is now more Angel than demon, but his darker side makes him the special character that he has become  special in our hearts.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Blue enjoying the garden, and showing signs of ageing,

Blue catches the ball

Each and every evening, Blue enjoys a good play in the garden.

This year the games are a little less enthusiastic, having spent some money on shrubs and flowers. Normally this time of year the game of ball normally costs flowers and shrubs their floral display, blame is equal on this, we both get a little carried away, either I kick the ball too hard or Blue is too enthusiastic to retrieve it, so for a while we play a less energetic game, so far only one shrub and two potted plants have suffered loss.

Blue recently turned five, and is now showing more signs of an elderly dog, the greying of the fur round the muzzle, the longer sleeps etc. this would not be too evident to the untrained eye, but there is a distinct difference. When Blue was a young pup we went for a walk along the Thames near Maidenhead, on the toe path we met a gentleman walking an elderly looking German Shepherd, we were very surprised to learn that his dog was only five years old. So now we see the same in Blue.

So he is showing signs of ageing, but is not an old dog, and in truth the energy levels and enthusiasm has been the same as they have always been. One thing that Blue does not have, stamina, he must have been at the back of the queue that day when it was handed out. This may be because of his back operation when he was a pup.

Recently in a few pictures it appears that Blue is not carrying his weight as good as he did in the past, so we will keep a close eye on this, sometimes we all look in the mirror and see a different us, but at 47kg Blue really can not afford to carry more weight, though not on a diet, the portions are slightly smaller mealtimes, and the treats are fewer.

The observations above do not mean that Blue is an overweight, out of condition old dog, they are merely hints of what is lurking with potential around the corner.

Blues mum religiously keeps a diary of each and every walk Blue does, as she has since the day of his spinal operation four and a half years ago. Likewise all his food is measured/weighed out, for this I doff my cap to her, it is an unselfish caring thing she does, not to mention ensuring he is walked three times a day.

So below are a few pictures of Blue enjoying games and relaxing in the garden.

Come and get it

On yer ead son

Here comes the ball

To see more of Blues garden games and more follow the link below of his Flickr photos

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Blues blog is just over a year old

Blues blog is now being shared on Google Plus, on a dedicated community for The German Shepherd Lovers Community.

It has many different sections where German Shepherd owners, new and old share their experiences and lives of living with a German Shepherd.

Today a new section is created, where German Shepherd dedicated blogs can be shown to others who have a similar love for these magnificent dogs.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Blue is ready for the weekend

Cheeky monkey


So a week has passed, Blue is beginning to return to his old self, a bit cheeky and pushing some boundaries, but then that is Blue.
All his walks this last seven days, starting at twenty minutes, and gradually building up through the week, yesterday he walked for 35minutes with no ill effects.
We will continue it this next week, slowly building up, however football in the garden is still a bit of a no no. Blue will still grab his jollyball, and try to instigate a game of kick and chase, but we know best.
He has no problem bearing his weight on his front leg, so we think it was a case of jarring, causing some soft tissue damage. Blue remains on a lead when we go out, but that is the norm, he only goes off lead in an empty park, and with the nice weather we have been having, that is seldom.
Blue enjoyed his weekly swim, once again hydrotherapy works well with Blue, he had a great time diving in and swimming with his ball.

Now, recently my wife Sue has been sharing "tweets" with @ediethepug in Ontario Canada who are championing an idea of tying a yellow ribbon on your dogs lead to ask other dog owners to respect your dogs space, this is something we both feel is a good idea, but will only work with a greater airing in social media.
Why do dogs need their own space, the list is enormous, but take this week alone, our dog is out minding his own business on a lead recovering from an injury to his paw, which needs rest and gentle exercise. As we were walking through the local park, there were a number of other dogs doing their own thing, so skirting the perimeter and keeping to the outer edge, Blue enjoyed a nice relaxing walk. Suspecting Blue may become the victim of some unwanted attention, one of the afore mentioned dogs not only came over but actually reached us in the middle of the road outside the park, which got Blue all excited and was jumping up and down trying to let the chocolate Labrador know he wanted his space. Sure enough the owner of the lab made no attempt to retrieve his dog, despite all the baring of teeth and barking going on outside the park. Both dogs called it a day and we went our own ways, no harm done, no thanks to the other owner. But if Blue would have gone for his dog, I wonder who would be blamed, not the cute Lab, but the vicious German Shepherd. I know this is only a minor thing compared with other tragedies that are bestowed on dog walkers out minding their own business. If you want to follow the campaign a bit more follow @bluesmummy on twitter.
Follow links to discover more.


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Blue is on light duties

It has been a bit of a week for poor Blue, finally we arrived at the weekend, with the forcast being very favourable, so we could spend more time in the garden.

Saturday arrived and our dawn walk began at 5.45am. As it was the weekend, we set off to the park, with his favourite, a tennis ball. After 10 minutes of wandering through the park, it was time to play fetch.

With a sturdy throw, off went the ball, hotly pursued by the eager Blue, as the ball bounced up into the air, Blue was so quick with that pacey long stride of his that he went under the bouncing ball.
As Blue stopped abruptly he gave out a yelp, he collected the ball in his mouth, and like a fallen hero he began a sorry limp back to me.

My heart dropped, what had he done, as I reached him to console him, he leant his full weight against me, holding his left foreleg aloft. After a bit he seemed to be able to bear some weight on his paw. Thinking he may have needed to be carried home, this was quite a relief, at 47 kg, he is a lot of dog to  carry as a live load, co-operation not being his middle name.

The tennis ball, now became his stress ball, it took his mind off the pain. Gradually he was bearing more and more weight on his paw, and at first I was going to head home, but we stayed a bit longer in the park, when we arrived home some twenty minutes later, there was barely a sign of a limp.

A ride in the car down to B & Q, Blue laid in the car for the best part of an hour, without a murmur, just the two of us, while my wife was in the store buying up flowers and things for the garden.

Back home, as we set about planting up the flower pots and beds, Blue was right in there, helping dig the holes for the shrubs, spreading the bark, all injuries now forgotten, which was a great relief.

Alas Sunday come, and the limp has returned, though not showing any stress with it, Blue seems quite uncomfortable when getting up from laying down, he had a 50 minute walk earlier in the afternoon, so we will shorten his walks and cease the ball chasing for a bit, to see if he heals. If there is any signs that all is not well or mending, it will be a trip to the vets, my feeling is that it is a strained muscle, but not a break.

So, for a day or two Blue, will be on light duties.