Category: Poppy

Poppy Goes to Training School

Poppydog

We’ve started training classes with Poppy. It’s a six week course, starting with the basics and hopefully ending with Poppy being able to do exactly as she’s told & performing a few tricks! So off Poppy & I went, with, what I thought was, plenty of treats and high hopes. It was exhausting!

Poppydog

There were quite a few big, boisterous dogs there, which set Poppy off barking almost immediately. When she’s like that it’s really hard to calm her down. I hadn’t taken anything for her to chew on, but fortunately Sheila, the teacher, had some cow hooves, which Poppy loves! That kept her quiet for a little bit but she really just wanted to go around & say hello to all the other dogs!

We started with the ‘watch’ command, where you waft the treat in front of your dogs nose & then hold it up by your eyes. The idea is that it trains your dog to make eye contact with you, which is really useful for getting their attention on walks etc. By this point, Poppy was barking a lot so Sheila brought out the clicker. Every time Poppy does something right in training, I click the clicker & give her a treat. That way, she knows she’s getting the treat because she’s done something right, rather than for barking.

Then we moved on to sit (which Poppy can already do at the drop of a hat), down (argh!) and stand (done!). So I got Poppy to sit, then to get her to lie down, I had to hold the treat in front of her nose, move it down to the ground slowly, then pull it out along the floor. Well. Poppy doesn’t like doing this. She only goes about halfway before giving up and licking the treat so much it turns to mush! It’s really difficult for her, not quite sure why, but we’re working on it.

Before long, everyone was using their clickers & calling their dogs. Poppy was really hyped up so wouldn’t pay attention to anyone! And I ran out of treats as I’d been using them to try and calm her down when she ignored the hoof. We might have to train her to bark on command so that we can train her to be quiet. Simple eh?!

By the end of the class, Poppy & I were exhausted! We’re going to try & wear her out a bit more before next weeks class, as well as taking twice as many treats. And cheese. Poppy will do almost anything for treats, except lie down!

Poppy’s First Emergency Vet Visit

Sunday was a pretty normal day. I spent the day crafting & getting lots of ideas about blogging. My OH went to the London Coffee Festival. We took Poppy for her evening walk & got home just before 6pm. We fed her straight away as normal. Within a few mouthfuls, Poppy started to choke on her food. It was pretty horrendous. She cleared it quite quickly & carried on eating her food. Not long after, she started making that horrible noise a dog makes before they’re sick. She did this quite a few times before bringing anything up. But then it continued every minute or so. We googled it & waited to see if it would clear & she would settle. She didn’t. She couldn’t seem to clear whatever was irritating her. She could breath okay & wasn’t in any distress. We were terrified! After nearly an hour, we called the emergency vet. After chatting with him, we agreed to take her in. Poppy doesn’t mind the vet – as far as she’s concerned, it’s a trip out with someone giving her some love & attention at the end of it! The vet, Colin, checked her over & gave her some steroids. We only needed to take her back if it persisted.

When we got home, we sat on the sofa with Poppy. She managed to sleep, but only with her head propped up. When she lay her head down, it brought the cough on. Every time she moved, it brought the cough on. So we sat & she slept. Then it came to go to bed. We got her upstairs and got her settled. By this point, it didn’t matter if she wasn’t moving or not. After a few minutes, she’d start to cough & try to clear her throat, which meant cleaning up. It got to the point where we couldn’t clean it up quick enough so we called the vet & took her in again. This time, he gave us some thing like Gaviscon to help calm the irritation & settle her. He also asked us to call him in the morning, no matter what. We got her home, settled & administered her medication. I slept in with her in the spare room. She slept for about 30 – 40 mins before getting up & coughing. She was so very tired and couldn’t keep any water down. It was a very long night & we felt awful for her. After a really bad coughing fit at about 5.30am, she managed to sleep until 7am. She seemed a bit brighter, but when I called the vet & explained how she’d been throughout the night, he asked to see her again.

PoppyThe vet examined her again & wanted to perform some tests under a general anaesthetic. This included a chest x-ray and a scope down into her lungs. The results weren’t conclusive. Her left lung was really inflamed and had quite a lot of mucus. The right lung was only inflamed at the opening. They put her on a drip, as she’d lost nearly a kilo in weight in twelve hours due to coughing up the mucus. The vet isn’t sure what caused it, whether it was some food particles in her lungs or the beginnings of a chest infection. Her bloods were normal & they sent a sample her lung mucus off for analysis, so that might tell us a bit more when the results come back.

We were really worried all day & the house seemed really quiet without her. When she woke up from the anaesthetic, she ate a bit of food, walked around in the garden at the vets & was her usual adorable self. We picked her up & she was very groggy. She slept all night & is getting back to her usual self. I have never been so worried or felt so helpless. We’re going to make sure she has a few quiet days with plenty of rest, though this is as much for us as it is for her! She will be going back for a check-up but because she’s been so much better, it’s likely that we’ll continue with her current antibiotics & that’s all. I am so grateful to the vet! He was so helpful & nothing was too much trouble, plus he was really good with Poppy and sadly, not all vets are great with dogs or people! Now all we need to do is get Poppy not to inhale her food – literally!

The Poppy Diaries – Week 4

On Sunday we celebrated our first month of being Poppy’s owners. She, and, we have come a long way! Poppy is much more settled in the house & is gaining in confidence about the place. For example, earlier on in the week, she discovered the bin in the bathroom. It has a swing lid, which she poked with her nose. When it swung back at her, it made her jump & bark! This continued until she pulled the bin over & ate part of a wrapper from a bar of soap. Tasty eh? Last night, she found the bar of soap, tried to eat it, barked at it when we moved it out of her reach & then cried when we shut her out of the bathroom. All because the lady loves the taste of soap!

Here are a few of my favourite pics of Poppy:

walkies

We were just about to go for our evening walk. As I switch everything off & move out of my study for the day, Poppy is learning the signs of when it’s time to head to the park! She’s pretty well behaved during the getting ready process, she’s quite happy to sit & wait while we get shoes, coats, treats, poo bags etc!

Sleepy

This was after one of evening walks this week, when the weather has been so much warmer. Because Poppy’s on lead behaviour can be quite frantic, she wears herself out quite easily. And don’t forget, she’s only got little legs… well, little front legs at least!

Giant paw

I love this picture of one of Poppy’s giant paws! Poppy isn’t the easiest dog to photograph because as soon as you move to get the better camera or to get into a better position, she’s all over you! She doesn’t want to miss out on anything! So if you want a picture, you have to be quick.

These are some of the things I’ve learnt about Poppy this week:

  • While her hatred for pigeons seems to have calmed down a bit, her loathing of squirrels has increased. Poppy will go crazy when she sees a squirrel – so much so that she’ll stand on her hind legs, scrabbling away at the tree, trying to climb it to get the pesky squirrel!
  • Poppy has weird tastebuds. Recently she’s been eating dandelions from the garden. While we’re doing up our garden, it’s fair to say that we’ve been a bit lax on weeding the borders. Fortunately, we now have Poppy who is eating the heads off the dandelions. Never known a dog to do this! Her love of used chewing gum is increasing  so much so that she’ll try & pry it off the pavement, no matter how old it is! She also managed to eat some of the suet bird food over the weekend. Gross!
  • Poppy likes to chase butterflies. There was a really cute moment on Saturday when we were all in the garden, with the warm sun on our backs, when a butterfly danced across the garden. Poppy then proceeded to dance across the garden too, chasing the butterfly! So very cute!
  • Her distrust of the ironing board has also increased, so much so that when I put it up she runs out of the room!
  • Poppy is very stubborn. If she wants to stay on the sofa when you want her to get down, she takes a long time to give in. If she wants to try & nudge open the food recycle bin, then trying to get her away from it is really difficult. It’s almost like she has selective hearing & you have to get her attention first before she’ll even acknowledge that you’re there!

We’ve also had a firsts this week, not all good! Firstly, we had a few night time accidents. We’re not quite sure why, it certainly wasn’t because we had mammoth lie-ins or anything! I wish! Over the last few days we’ve been getting up a bit earlier and that seems to have settled things a bit. Poppy was also sick in the house the other morning. (So grateful we have wooden floors!) Both my OH & I heard a strange noise, both of us assumed it was the other, then came the shout ‘Poppy’s been sick!’ Well, now we know what to look out for!

In other positive news, Poppy has really nailed the stay command this week. I got her to sit & stay on the mat at the back door, while I walked to the front door. She stayed where she was until I moved to give her a treat! This is great news & I think we’re ready to try it out in the garden where there are more distractions. We’re still working on play and a few other commands, but I’ll be sure to update you!

We took Poppy to visit my OH’s family on Saturday & she was really well behaved. She didn’t bark or get frustrated, and pretty much did what she was told. Good girl Poppy! It’s fair to say that we’re proud parents!

 

Poppy Proofing Crafty Chai Towers

We’ve been making great progress on our list of jobs that need doing around the house. Getting Poppy has caused a few to be more important and so we’ve acted on them sooner. Poppy has free run of the house, with the exception of sleeping on our bed. This is fine except our stairs are wooden and quite steep. Watching Poppy navigate her way down them is terrifying! They’re so awkward, my Mum’s elderly pooch, Harvey, can’t get down them at all. So we decided to carpet them. It’s not just for Poppy – they’re old stairs & creak a lot, I’ve never been completely happy with them, as I’ve been terrified about falling down them, being the clumsy oaf that I am! Last week Selkirk-Harris Carpets came and put in a lovely bit of carpet that we’re all very happy with!

Stairs

The difference it has made is unbelievable. The stairs are much quieter & easier to get down, for both Poppy & me! It’s also like walking on a cloud – Hello lovely underlay! The carpet also makes the stairs so much lighter, which is something we can never have too much of in this house! It even gets Poppy’s seal of approval.

Poppy on the carpet

One other change we’ve made has been inspired by Poppy’s muddy paws. Poppy often makes a beeline for the sofa after coming in from the garden. Now as the garden is in the middle of being redone, the borders aren’t sealed off & there’s a lot of dirt about. Poppy also really likes sitting on the borders! She then runs in the house, straight onto the sofa, muddy paws and all. We don’t mind Poppy on the sofa, but we do mind the paw prints left behind. You know what this means? Shopping trip for some new throws! We looked around at a few places online but couldn’t see anything we liked. Then we popped into Laura Ashley in Summertown, Oxford. I love Laura Ashley. A lot. Especially when there’s a sale on as you are guaranteed to get bargains galore! And, amazingly, we did! We bought two lovely throws 50% off! I love getting a good deal on things & we also came away with a basket for Poppy’s toys. Also in the sale. Awesome!

Throws

Poppy can get her muddy paws on these all she likes. Then, when we have guests over, we’ll whip off the throws & have our sofa back. Again, as you can see, Poppy is pretty happy with the throws! We’ve also had to start mopping the floor more often, which isn’t as much fun as shopping, but what can you do?! When Poppy isn’t sitting on the sofa with us, she’s napping the armchair, where she’s made a little nest for herself among the cushions! So adorable!