Category Archives: Penny

Penny was rescued by Labrador and Golden Retriever Rescue from someone who was trying to sell her on Gumtree.
We went to meet her a couple of days and a bath later, and then went to fetch her to her forever home on December 26th 2013!

Riggs and His Housemates

Even when we aren’t raising a Guide Dog puppy, we have four of our own dogs.
The Guide Dog puppies learn a lot from these older dogs – doggy manners are very important for a puppy to learn, as well as the training he gets from his human family.

Our dogs teach the puppies good doggy manners, and they help with house training as the puppy follows them outside to busy. Dogs are very good teachers, and being natural pack animals, puppies learn from the group. A barking puppy will be completely ignored – which tells him his barking is annoying and they aren’t going to play with him until he stops. A puppy chewing on an older dogs ears will only be tolerated if he doesn’t hurt the older dog – biting will get a doggy reprimand.

Unfortunately for our Guide Dog puppies, our own dogs are not big on snuggling when they sleep – each preferring their own beds – and all our puppies want to do is cuddle up to one of them! 😀
Our Labrador, Riddick, is super-patient with puppies, allowing them to jump on him and chew on his ears and his neck far more than the other dogs, and he loves to play-wrestle as Labbies do. And like the puppy, Riddick follows me and waits for me whatever I may be doing, so I constantly have two yellow Labradors at my feet (or on my feet when they are still small enough to fit).
Penny loves to play keep-away, and she loves to run. And if Riggs is really quiet and careful, she will let him lie next to her for a few minutes. 😛

Here are some pictures of Riggs with Labrador Riddick, and rescue dog Penny.

Penny At School (Sixth Visit & First Class)

On Saturday morning we headed back to Manderston with Riddick and Penny, to walk around and play. Riddick got to play off-lead too, but he couldn’t get to the thrown toy unless we held Penny back. 😛 Next time I’ll take his ball with the bells in it.
We had fun, and we actually walked around the little farmers co-op market with the two of them on-lead, which I didn’t think we’d ever be able to do, and as always, their friendly nature charmed everyone!


On Sunday morning we went back with Penny, to start her classes. We ended up joining a big advanced class (several of us were supposed to be in an intermediate class), and as planned we were out on the end of the line of dogs, but she did really well. I didn’t attempt the commands I know she won’t know yet, and she’s VERY distracted – by other dogs, and toys lying around, and a dog climbing onto her daddy’s lap, a bird flying overhead – but she learns so fast. We stuck to commands I knew she would do well with, to continue building her confidence. At the end of the lesson they did one-on-one work, with each dog and their owner performing a set of instructions called out by the trainer, all off-lead.
One of these is a “send away”. The person puts their dog in a stay, walks a distance away and leaves a treat, then returns to the dog, who must then go and fetch the treat and return to their owner. With Penny we didn’t attempt all the exercises, and for the send-away I walked just five steps while the trainer held her lead, and I used a toy as she’s not treat-driven, but she loved it! As soon as I produced the ball she was completely focused – albeit on the toy, not on me. 😛 The other people in our group had a good giggle at her love of toys! She ran to fetch it and came straight back to me.

Penny joined our family from Labrador Rescue – you can help support their work.
Just click on their logo!



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. 🙂 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! 😀 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!

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!

Could Penny Be The Ambassadoggy?

We’ve entered our Penny into Mnet’s channel 105 Ambassadoggy competition!

Penny’s Eye…

The weekend before last I noticed that the hair around Penny’s left eye looked a little sparse, but there was only a slight different to the right eye so I decided just to keep an eye on it.
On the Sunday though there was a marked difference so I started with an application of Germolene a couple of times a day as she wasn’t scratching at it and it wasn’t weeping.
Medicating Penny is a whole ‘nother kettle of bananas though! I have to sneak up on her when she’s sleeping ‘coz if she even hears my bedside drawer opening she’s up and running!

Here’s a picture from the 8th of Feb and you can see the left eye looks very different to the right…


And here’s a picture from this morning – the Germolene and Bactroban didn’t seem to be helping so we went to see the vet this morning.


She was so excited to be going out! She starts making this high-pitched whistle when I put her walking collar and leash on her, and she can’t WAIT to get in the car!

She was quite well behaved at the vet, excited and squeaky, but she listened and came to me when I offered her a treat. She got on the scale but she didn’t sit still long enough for the scale to settle so we know she weighs between 28.5 and 29kg. The vet and the receptionist were surprised by her weight ‘coz when she’s on her own she doesn’t look that big, and the vet had to lift her up onto the exam table!
I got her to down-stay on the exam table and after a bit of a tussle she allowed the vet to get a good look at her face with my “let me see” instruction – it went better than I thought it would! Then he took a scraping sample using a scalpel blade so she had to hold dead still while he did that, and she listened! I was very pleased, but a vet who has a firm, gentle hand makes a big difference. He went off to look under the microscope so I made her stay on the table. She was a bit restless but it was easier than I thought it would be.
The vet found no mites and doesn’t think its ringworm, so he’s started her on F10 ointment twice a day – a germicidal/ fungal barrier cream. If her eye is no better – or worse – within three days, we have to go back.

Hopefully that won’t be necessary, and I am keeping an eye on the other dogs just in case whatever is is is contagious.

Penny Is A Mutt Indeed…

Remember we sent Penny’s saliva swabs to MuttMix in December for a DNA test?
You will never guess what her results are, and BOY were we far off the mark!!


So, keep this statement in mind when you see Penny’s results:
The MuttMix test is based upon our database of AKC™ (American Kennel Club) and South African
recognized breeds. If your dog contains other breeds not in our database, that DNA may assign to
the most closely related breed or breeds, or may result in the identification of breeds earlier in your
pet’s history and may therefore provide a seemingly unlikely result for your dog. For a complete list of
the breeds currently found in our database, please visit our website at


The couch damage is all Penny too!

So here is our Penny’s certificate:

MuttMix_Penny Certificate (BP04040)-page-001

Level2 (37-74%) Miniature Pinscher Level3 (20-36%) Bullmastiff Level4 (10-19%) Cocker Spaniel

No Vizsla, Brittany, Weimaraner, German Shorthaired Pointer, Labrador or even Greyhound! Seems crazy doesn’t it!? We’re still giggling!
Now check out some info on the breeds:

MuttMix_Penny Breed Info (BP04040)-page-001

Does this sound like Penny or what!??! Stubborn, smart, demanding and headstrong, love to bark, may show aggression to other dogs…
Reading up on them I found that Bullmastiffs were bred to guard game and catch poachers so they are fast, and they need a gentle firm hand in training – let them go their own way and they’ll soon be running things and early socialisation is essential. “Bullmastiffs need early training that continues throughout their life. Training and socialization help curb unwanted aggression and willfulness.
The Miniature Pinscher, or Min Pin is a small, well muscled dog with a dynamite personality. Contrary to popular belief it is not related to the Doberman at all and was bred to hunt rats. It also needs a firm hand in training and is apparently a bit of an escape artist, and loving attention they may act up to elicit a response. “Without proper training and supervision, he can quickly become a tyrant in the household.
The Cocker Spaniel is also a hunting dog with a sensitive personality. If they’re in pain or afraid they may growl or snap and if they’re bored they resort to digging and barking, they may also be hard to house train.
All three breeds are fabulous as affectionate, make great family pets, wanting to be with their people.


There’s a lot of our Penny in there!
She obviously gets her size from the Bullmastiff. Loving her voice, the shape of her body and clowning for attention is from the Min Pin. She gets her high prey-drive and her red colour from all three breeds. Her energy level is Min Pin, as is her love of bolting through an open gate. The house training battle and her love of digging holes is from the Cocker Spaniel.
Considering she spent the first six months of her life without training or socialisation, tied to the tow-hitch on a truck with a leash and generally abused she’s doing really well. All three breeds are not the easiest to train and need work from puppyhood to be well adjusted.

20140702_IMG_9709 - Copy

Of course now I am even more curious about her! I wish I could have seen her parents and her siblings!


So she’s an honourary Lab ‘coz we adopted her from Lab Rescue, but she’s actually a Miniature Bull Spaniel! 😀