Category Archives: the dogs

Penny At School (Fourth & Fifth Visit)

This weekend’s visits to Manderston were great!

Saturday morning I took Penny to just play – with other dogs around for practice with not having a play space to herself – as we’ve been doing. ūüôā There were very few dogs as the one class was still busy and the others were already over, and it was really hot, so we played fetch with a nice bouncy toy for about 45 minutes before heading home. She had fun and was good and tired.


Then on Sunday morning, Penny had a one-on-one training session with one of the trainers, to assess her level of training and make a decision as to whether she is ready for a group class.
We did a lot of walking, keeping her at heel, to see how distracted she is when walking near other class groups and how quickly she responded to commands. She did great!¬†We’ve done a lot of work with her at home so she knows the actual commands, she knows to walk at heel¬†– its just a case of implementing everything outside the house so we can take her for walks and on play dates.
She was approached by other dogs a couple of times, but there was no growling! Yay!¬†We did keep to the perimeter of the training grounds with the walking, and trying a couple of agility obstacles, to give her the best chance to do well. There was one moment where a big black Lab came barreling up to us and I was a little unsure… Penny didn’t seem to do anything initially – but I pulled her out of the way with the lead because he didn’t look like he wanted to play,¬†his mouth was closed and he was running really fast, not listening to his mom at all. :/¬†We moved away quickly while she got him back on lead, and then we carried on walking.


We took our Riddick along to puppy school this¬†morning so he could socialise and play a little, and as usual he wrapped everyone around his little finger! Nobody can resist his precious face! He’s so sweet the way he holds his lead in his mouth, and he greets all the dogs so happily and politely. We actually have to be careful with how many treats he is given so his blood sugar doesn’t go too bananas! ūüėÄ He walked around with his daddy while I worked with Penny, and they joined¬†us towards the end of our session.


After our exercises we sat for a little while to just cool off, to be sure we were leaving on a positive note again, and the two of them were panting and worn out on the drive home! ‚̧

Penny At School (Third Visit)

Back to puppy school for Penny this morning, again around 10am – after the classes were finished.


We started with a walk around the field, around the agility equipment, and over the low hurdles (I want to get her used to them). Then we sat under a tree and watched the other dogs finishing up their class and their people saying goodbye, and we went to play with other dogs hanging around and watching, and a trainer watching us and her.


She had a blast, running full tilt after the toy, and taking herself to get water from the splash pool. While she was resting a young GSD ran up to her, and we had a bit of snarling and growling, but after my second “HEY!” she dropped flat and he ran off. Our trainer then requested another GSD come out – a mature, well socialised, bomb-proof boy named Tague (sp?), and we carried on playing with Penny till Tague appeared.
Penny watched him, and he approached her, side on, neutral. When he moved to greet she raised her lip a couple of times and I quietly said “no” so she stayed still, and then she actually moved to sniff him too. Then Tague moved off and our trainer said it was perfect, Penny had listened to me, and Tague listened to her saying she didn’t want to hang out and left her alone. A little later she was at the pool again – she doesn’t swim or walk in, she just drinks ¬†– and Tague approached. She turned her back on him, and off he went! Our trainer explained that this was exactly what Penny needed to be happier overall, for other dogs to listen when she speaks.

He recommended we leave then, with her happy and worn out, and having a good association with the place.


Next week she’ll start with obedience classes – one on one with a trainer before she joins a group class.


AAAAND, next week we’ll take Riddick along so he can play! I hate leaving him home and we’re pretty sure he’ll have fun, so we’ll see how he does.

Penny At School (Second Visit)

So, back to doggy school for Penny today.


There were fewer dogs off-lead today (we are currently going after the obedience classes so she can just socialise), and she was happily playing fetch with a little purple toy.
At the same time there was a gorgeous Bully playing with his Kong bone, so between Jojo’s dad and us we were trying to throw in different directions to avoid a clash. Inevitably they ended up going for the same toy once or twice. Then Jojo’s dad picked up Jojo’s bone, and Penny wouldn’t come to me for the other toy – not for love or money – and she and Jojo climbed into each other. Penny has a little hole in her head, just by her ear, and Jojo has two holes in one ear.
Thankfully its not serious, and Jojo’s dad was not at all concerned.

One thing the trainer-behaviourist was very pleased with is how quickly Penny and Jojo calmed down after their run-in. Jojo got his ears sprayed pink with F10 (they sprayed his uninjured ear so it would match ).

We then took Penny out to play on a long, loooong lead to play for a while before heading home.

Our Penny Pie, The Bitch

Our Penny is a mixed-breed rescue. We adopted her at about 6 months old. She had been abused and neglected, and it took a long time to¬†settle her in our home, to house train her and socialise her as much as we could without aggravating her issues. She’s territorial and protective of her space,¬†and her toys.

Over December, our career-changed Guide Dog puppy Nimble was home for a whole month, and during that time we noticed¬†that our Penny’s insecurity signals escalated and she was not a happy camper. Nipping my thigh when she walks next to me, begging, barking at nothing (and you know she’s already a very vocal girl), constantly asking to go outside and come back in.

I knew that once Nimble left for her new home our Penny would get better, and relax again, but it would take time.

20170121_103708And then Facebook suggested a dog school’s page to me, one that is near our home. We¬†have thought of taking Penny to puppy school before, but we never really looked into it as our budget is ridiculously tight, but I called Manderston anyway.
I was pleasantly surprised by how affordable it seemed to be, so we decided to go through last Saturday morning for their trainers to see and assess Penny, and to see if we liked the trainers, and the school20170121_111800.

We liked the place a lot. The trainers and staff were friendly and not at all condescending, and they were very impressed with how sweet Penny is considering how she started out.
The other dogs are well socialised and trained, which is so much nicer than risking a dog park, and we were absolutely BLOWN AWAY by how well Penny handled her “introductory” visit to Manderston Canine Academy! She walked around on-lead at first, so the trainers could see what she’s like, and so she could sniff everything.¬†And she fell in the paddle pool ‘coz I didn’t think to show her it was water!
Then she actually ran and played fetch – off-lead¬†– with a couple of GSDs running alongside! She had a few small incidents with other dogs, mostly when they wanted to check out the toy she was fetching, but she listened immediately when I shouted “NO!”
She went home exhausted and happy!

We’re going to go back every weekend now, for her to socialise at first, and later to do obedience classes.
Its going to do her the world of good! We are so excited for her!

Update on Riddick

We haven’t had to put his harness on every day in a few weeks now, and¬†we haven’t had any seizures, thank goodness!
He loves his ball, and he loves playing, even when the other dogs get to the ball first!
Its been weeks since he had blood drawn, but the hair on the patch on his leg that was shaved hasn’t grown back properly yet.
His sugar is kind of under control. Its fine for a day or two and then it goes up, then fine for a day or two again.
His vision has definitely deteriorated. ūüė¶ He’s not seeing some closed doors – he sees a dark shape in a light wall, like it could be an opening. And the other day I put his bowl down in front of him and it wasn’t exactly in the corner like it usually is, and it took him a second to realise it was closer to him than usual.

He gets very disoriented when we have a house full of dogs. More than one extra puppy and he literally gets pushed out of the way when he tries to come for a cuddle. And when they play around him he tries to join in but he gets turned around and you can clearly see he’s not quite sure he’s facing the direction he wants to go anymore.
Sometimes he thinks there’s still a dog in the garden with him and he’ll stand facing where he thinks they are and bark, but they’ve already moved out of his way.
My poor baby.
He’s a happy, snuggly puppy, and he makes his face all soft for me when he comes and asks for a love, and he laughs like a seal when I play with him and cuddle him.
So we’ll be keeping the visiting dogs to a minimum from now on, and we’re going to be working on some ideas to put into place to help him find his way when he gets off track.
What I wouldn’t give to be able to get him one of these
The pictures are not really related to the news, he’s just so gorgeous I have to show off. ūüėõ

I am officially in a toestand.

November 16th update:¬†Blood tests and urinalysis normal so far. This is good news, but it doesn’t explain the weight loss… ūüėĮ Fed him in small meals yesterday but last night his sugar was sky high again.¬†Next is a specialist with her own ultrasound machine so we can look for growths or other weirdness that might be causing his diabetes. We’ll also be monitoring his weight with a couple of weigh-ins a week.
November 15th update:¬†Back to the vet with Riddick first thing this morning… Drew blood to do tests and I left a urine sample. Riddick’s, not mine. ¬†He’s eating his meals a little at a time through the day to prevent him puking again, and he had an anti-nausea shot last night which should last 24 hours.¬†His vet has been chatting to a couple of professors since Riddick doesn’t respond to anything the way they expect him to, and they are all baffled. Now we wait to see what the blood and urinalysis says.
November 14th: Three weeks ago, my Riddick had hookworm, and was put on meds. It was a rough weekend, but he recovered. And he weighed 35.3kg (at his last sugar curve on September 12th he weighed 35.85kg). For Riddick, 35kg is our target weight, its healthy for him and he looks good.
On Friday morning, November 11th I took him to the vet to weigh him ‘coz I thought he’d lost weight. I was right, he was down to 34.3KG. His blood sugar readings were looking great though, and in terms of behaviour, he was his old self, so I thought it might be as a result of the hookworm¬†and subsequent treatment.
I increased his food with 150G/day to get him back up to 35kg with the aim of then reducing it a little to keep him at 35kg.
Yesterday he seemed a little quiet, not really wanting to play, but I put it down to the heat. Then this evening he threw up all his supper shortly after I gave him his insulin shot. And then he drank water, and threw that up too.
We headed straight for the vet, arriving shortly before they closed.
Riddick threw up in the car on the way there too, and he weighed just 33.8kg, which means he’s lost half a kilo in three days despite the extra food.¬†That, plus the nausea, combined with his diabetes is not a good sign at all.
My daddy darling was an insulin-dependent diabetic almost all my life (he was diagnosed as an adult). I know how it works. If Riddick is losing weight but eating well it could mean that he is losing protein through dysfunctional kidneys.
When I first took him to the vet because I was worried about a diabetes he was not only peeing a lot and drinking a LOT of water, he had also lost a lot of weight.
He’s has been on insulin for a little over a year, since his diagnosis, but he could have been pre-diabetic for a while before that already. I know kidney failure is something that can happen to diabetics, and I knew when he was diagnosed that he would not live as long as a healthy Lab… But I hoped that getting him onto the right treatment would mean at least a few good years before real complications set in.
Tomorrow we’ll get blood for tests, to see what his thyroid and kidneys are doing, and I will try and get a urine sample.
I am so scared for my precious pickle… I can’t lose him already. He’s not even five years old yet! He’s my baby!

Penny “Loves” Birds

‘Tis the season for baby birds… And many fall out of their nests.
Our Penny finds them, and buries her “treasures” in the garden. She then protects that burial spot¬†– not allowing any of the other dogs anywhere near it, and moving her treasure if someone gets too close!
This afternoon I heard a bit of a rumble between her and Topolino in the garden, and I knew she had something hidden again.
She will show me where it is if I ask her, sometimes she will dig it up and bring it to me too but not always. Today she showed me the corner her treasure was buried in, and I found a little featherless-chick buried under the sand.
She doesn’t eat them, and she lets me take them and get rid of them without getting aggressive. Although she would take it back and hide it again in a heartbeat if I let her!

How Things Change.

A while ago, I overheard a snippet of conversation in a supermarket. A couple was discussing what bowl to get for her Labrador, who would be spending time at his house in the future.
Being the “mingler” that I am ūüėõ I suggested they get stainless steel as Labs can’t chew¬†it and its easy to keep clean. As I walked away, he responded with something along the lines of “Don’t the dogs just lick it clean?” and it made me think of how differently my dogs live, in comparison to the dogs we had as kids.

We had a few pet dogs when we were kids, but I wasn’t terribly attached to any of them.
Unlike my own dogs now, the dogs we had as kids¬†lived outside, they weren’t really trained or properly socialised, they were fed a couple of times a day and that was it. We certainly didn’t research breeds and go to puppy classes and play with them every day.¬†Thinking back it makes me a little bit sad for them.¬†Yes,¬†they were loved, they weren’t mistreated, but they could have had better lives had we known more and known better.
And the vast majority of pet dogs live like that now. They are¬†acquired because “…the kid needs to grow up with a dog…” or “…the breed is¬†great with kids…” but¬†they don’t put in the necessary work to turn¬†that puppy into a well behaved family pet¬†–¬†like the ones they see in the movies¬†–¬†and in the best case scenario the dog is banished outside, behind a gate.
In the worst case scenario, they are neglected, abused, and deserted.

My own dogs live in the house with us. If I could, they would go everywhere with me too, but thats not always possible. ūüėõ
Their stainless steel bowls are washed out after supper every day, and they go through the dishwasher twice a week.¬†I play with my dogs¬†every day, they get fresh water at least once a day, they get brushed, dewormed, tick-and-flea dropped, and inoculated,¬†and I know exactly what their tummies are doing because I go out with them several times a day so I can see them pee and poop. They have the added benefit of me¬†working from home instead of heading for the office every day, so I can spend as much time with them as I do.¬†I know which dog is barking because they all sound different, I know what their favourite toy is and how they behave in different situations.¬†They’ve had obedience training, and their socialisation is ongoing. Granted, they’re not the most spectacularly well behaved dogs around, but they’re not a complete nightmare either.

Isn’t it amazing how things change? My family still can’t get over my attachment to my furchildren!

Riddick Missed His Vet…

So this morning we were back there! ūüėõ His weight is a perfect 35.25kg!

This post is all about pee and poop, so you can click away now if this will be TMI for you. ūüėõ

Do you know how many times a day your dog – or dogs – pee and poo? Do you go with them when they go busy?
Would you know if your dog’s¬†busies were not normal?
Much like checking a cat’s litterbox while you’re¬†scooping it, a dog’s health can be quickly judged by the state of their busies.

Yesterday Riddick had a bit of a runny tummy. Not too hectic, but noticeable. Yesterday afternoon it was almost normal again, and when we went out this morning at 5:30am for first busies he had a big wee and what looked like a nice normal poo… He was out in the rain and I was too lazy to fetch a brolly so I could check (I checked it later after the vet amd it looked normal).

At 9-ish we went out again (we’re puppy sitting a youngster and he has to pee often), and Riddick couldn’t pee. He tried¬†his favourite spots for lifting his leg, and he tried the puppy-squat that he still does, but not a drop.
BIG red flag for me. Huge.
Then he tried to go #2, and it was runny. He was straining and there were just a few drops, and it was quite dark. Unfortunately it was in a flowerbed so I couldn’t see it properly to check on it.

We went straight to the vet.

As some of you may have guessed¬†-if you’ve been reading about Riddick for long enough- he doesn’t have “normal” clinical reactions, so he keeps us and his vet on our toes.
His bladder wasn’t too full when we got there so she couldn’t feel or hear anything odd, but a stool sample showed blood. ūüė¶
She gave him some meds and an anti-inflammatory shot as she says he may be hesitant to pee if his bum is sore, and sent us home with more meds for him.

As soon as we got home we all went outside for busies (I didn’t take the little puppy to the vet, its too risky for him as he hasn’t had all his shots yet) and Riddick had a BIG wee against the wall.


Now we’re going to keep an eye on his pooping to make sure it normalises, I have to wait for the meds to work, but at least we won’t be back at the vet today because he can’t pee!



Its two days later.¬†The vet diagnosed him with¬†Hookworm! ¬†I am sad and mortified, even though dogs¬†can get Hookworm just from walking on “infected” sand as well as eating Hadeda poop.
Our dogs are regularly treated for ticks, fleas, and worms (they have to be, for us to be puppy raisers), but Riddick is immunocompromised because of his diabetes, and apparently some worm species are becoming resistant to treatment.
The vet recommends alternating worm treatments to cover all the bases (we’ve always used Milbemax because I’m worried about Spirocerca Lupi with Penny’s coprophagia) so now it will be Milbemax and Drontal in alternate doses.
Riddick is on meds to fix his runny tummy and get rid of the worms, and ALL the dogs we’ve had contact with – AND their housemates – need to have a preventive treatment! The knock-on is HUGE ‘coz we’ve been to GDA twice this week and we’ve had puppies at our house!
My poor boy… By Friday afternoon he was bleeding rectally from the worm, and really battling to poop, so we were back at the vet on Saturday morning with a stool sample. Thankfully there was no blood in the stool, just on the outside, so the bleeding is most likely in his rectum and caused by the worm. Blood mixed into his stool would have been much more serious.
We have to wait until Monday afternoon to see if the meds is working to clear up his runny tummy. Thankfully the bleeding had stopped by Saturday afternoon. That was very scary and very messy.
We’re making sure he drinks water and pees properly, and thankfully his appetite is unaffected. ūüėõ
And no visiting puppies for a while.

Riddick Is Determined…

…to get as dirty as he can as often as he can! And thanks to a very dry winter and a drought, our garden is a dustbowl so its super easy for him! He rolls in the sand and gets dirty from nose to tail, and he loves it – I can hear him rumbling and groaning from the other side of the house! ūüėÄ

September 28th

September 28th

September 30th

September 30th

October 2nd

October 2nd

On the 2nd, I put him in the bath and rinsed the sand off him – I didn’t even use shampoo, just water!

He got out of the bath and I towelled him a little dry, and he started doing “crazy run” as they all love to do after a bath! ¬†I put a couple more towels down for him to roll on and he was having such fun… and suddenly it seemed too much and he got all wobbly… ūüė¶
I chased the other dogs outside so I could calm Riddick down, and he sort-of slept on the kitchen floor for a while.
Lookit his scarred nose! o.O

He was clean for all of three days! This is October 6th

He was clean for all of three days! This is October 6th

And October 7th!

And October 7th!

And when he gets up from where he’s been lying – he leaves a pile of sand behind! ūüėÄ