Saturday, 5 November 2011

Socialising a puppy is hard work!

Wow, so socialising a puppy is hard work!! I mean it really is sooooo difficult, having breakfast at beach cafes, going for coffees, browsing in shops.....its such a hard life!! ;-) So you get the general idea, the last few weeks have been spent socialising Fuze. We try to take him absolutely everywhere with us, and apart from the above he has been to garden centres, B&Q, taken a bus ride to town, met all manner of people and children, and generally had a great time! We try to do at least one new thing every day. Here are a few photos of what he has been up to.

He has taken most things in his stride and hasn't come up against anything scary so far. He is really very confident, although I am not taking this for granted and am making sure that I watch him carefully in case he does find anything too much. We have also been working on his training, and he now knows quite a few tricks! We did loads of work on his rear leg awareness, and the first things I taught him were all about reversing onto objects and using his back feet. Subsequently his first response to any new training game is to target objects with his back feet! Sometimes it is hilarious! He even targets other dogs with his rear feet! So to counteract that, we have started working on lots of things using his front feet now, such as wave and cross paws, and things needing all four paws, like getting in a box and crawling!

I have to admit that despite what I said in my previous post I am struggling to get him to play when we are out and about. He is just so excited by everything going on around him and I just can't get his attention on a toy!! He has a really strong tug in and about the house, so I know it is there, but the outside world is just way too exciting. I am hoping that this will improve once he gets down on the floor and can interact with everything around him more, rather than viewing the excitement of the world from in someones arms. His only other bad habit is that he likes to bark (very loudly!!) at the other dogs to try to get them to play with him! Unfortunately this has the opposite effect, as it makes them want to get away. We are working on this and trying to get him to calm down. I realised half way through last week that perhaps it was even worse as we were perhaps letting him get a bit over tired, and he was becoming wild at times! lol So I started trying to give him more time in his crate to relax and settle down, as he doesn't do that voluntarily! This seems to be working, and in the last few days he has actually settled himself down and gone to sleep without me needing to put him in bed, so I think he may be learning that resting is a good thing!!

So all in all Fuze has been having a great time. However the same cannot be said for my poor other dogs. Someone told me last Monday about a few dogs coming down with illnesses showing similar symptoms, which were very serious. So serious that one dog had died. At that stage no one was sure if they were related, so no panic, but due to having Fuze, someone very kindly warned me to be on the cautious side, and I decided to give my dogs the day off from walking on Monday, just as a precaution. Sadly, by Monday evening it became clear that they were related, as more dogs had become ill. The frustrating thing is that no one really knows what it is. Tests have come back negative for Parvo, which was suspected even though the dogs affected had been vaccinated. Good news in a way, but also bad, as that meant all dogs were at risk, and exactly what is causing the illness remains unknown. All training classes have been cancelled, and the general advice is to walk your dogs on an outgoing tide where the beach has been washed and to avoid other dogs. Obviously I am worried about all my dogs, but even more so as we have Fuze and he is so young. I made the decision that I would not walk my dogs until there had been no new cases for 2-3 days. We are now on Saturday, and up to this morning my dogs still had not been out. Sadly there were still new cases this week, and two more dogs have died. his morning I got to the stage where I felt I could not go another day without walking them, plus the conditions were in my favour, as low tide was very early morning, so I could walk on the outgoing tide, on a completely deserted beach! So the dogs did get out this morning, and tide times are similar for tomorrow so I will probably do the same then. I feel as though I am in some sort of movie about a plague! Its very frustrating, and very worrying. We just have to wait until whatever this is disappears, but I wish we knew what it was! There has been some suggestion that it is 'seasonal canine illness' and is being caused by a natural toxin found in woodlands, so walking elsewhere could be fine, but this is only a theory and I am not taking any risks!! It could well be something contagious and passed from dog to dog.  My dogs health is absolutely the most important thing to me, and I will not take any risks where they are concerned. At least I have still been able to take Fuze out as the majority of places he has been have been non doggie! Fingers crossed for good news this week..........

Back to better news, and I am very excited to be able to announce that I have been appointed as team manager to organise a Jersey team to attend the World Agility Open 2012 in Belgium! A great opportunity to compete on an international scale and very exciting all round! The selection process is now underway, and hopefully the team will be announced in the first week of December. Managing the team is going to be a massive learning curve for me, however I am ready for the challenge and hope that this is going to be a great experience for all those who take part!! I have lots of plans for the coming months, so watch this space.........

Finally, a training video for Fuze - which most of you who are friends on FB will have already seen, but in case you haven't.........most of this was taken before last week, will do a new one soon!!