Tag: oxfordshire

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!

Lassco Three Pigeons

Stained Glass

I love a good mooch about an antique centre. It’s like a step back in time & it’s great seeing lots of old bits & pieces and imagining them in my home. Last Saturday we went to Lassco Three Pigeons at Great Milton, Oxfordshire. The thing I like about Lassco is that they always have something new, something you’ve never seen before, something that you’d expect to see in a stately home so it’s always a real adventure! We were on the look out for a few things – new tiles for my fireplace, lampshades, birthday presents for me and anything we can find for the garden. We did pretty well!

ButterflyI was drawn to the framed images of butterflies that they had upstairs. I’d seen some lovely ones in Home Barn, but sadly, they were out of my price range. These are much more affordable and really lovely. We also saw a gorgeous set of green tiles for the fireplace but we’re just deciding whether it’s worth replacing the ones we have. We’ve already got a lot of work to do in cleaning it up! Plus it’s missing it’s basket on the front, so it was great to get advice on whether it’s worth doing or not.

Stained Glass

We saw this gorgeous stained glass, which I really love – just wish we had somewhere to put it! We also saw these prison doors, which were really unusual. Walking around outside is a real experience. They have lots of things that are amazing & I think they do a real service by salvaging all that they do.

Prison DoorsThey had lots of great things for the garden. We’re looking for something to edge the borders & they had quite a few things so we’ll be back once we’ve taken the measurements. We’d like to use reclaimed materials as much as possible. Not only is it great to recycle, but it also makes the garden a bit more interesting.

Eggs

After a good look around, we stopped in the cafe for a bite to eat. I ordered scrambled egg on toast and a pot of tea. I was very impressed when my pot of tea came with a second pot of hot water. I loved this! I remember this happening a lot when I was younger but it seems to have gone out of fashion. As a massive tea addict, I want my pot of tea to last as long as possible so this was a real treat. I was even more impressed when my lunch came out – the eggs were piled high on thick cut toast. There was so much of it, I couldn’t finish it. Very tasty, great value for money & service with a smile. We’ll definitely be heading back!

Frustration Training with Poppy

Poppy on Lookout

Sunday night, while most people were chilling out & preparing for the week ahead, my OH, Poppy & I headed out to do some training. Frustration training, no less. What the heck? I hear you ask! Well, Poppy is a frustrated dog. This means that when presented with people, dogs or a situation where she’s not getting what she wants, she gets frustrated. And shows this by barking. A lot. While this can be a little bit annoying (& embarrassing for us!), it’s very stressful for her. We want Poppy to be a happy dog as much as we want her to be well behaved.

We went along to the class, which was run by Sheila from Teach my Dog, that had two other dogs in attendance, who, it turned out, were more fearful than frustrated. Therefore, Poppy was worked with first. One of the other dogs was put at the end of the hall with my OH while Poppy and the trainer Sheila and myself stood at the other end with Poppy. Every time Poppy made eye contact with other dog, she started barking. When she turned & looked at us and was quiet we took a step forward. We did this until she met the dog. If she barked, we didn’t move forward. This shows her the she gets the reward of getting closer to the dog when she’s quiet. If she barked, nothing happened & we ignored the ‘bad behaviour’. It was so useful! I’d definitely seen the signs of stress that Poppy displayed at the class, but didn’t know what they meant. It does mean that if we meet another dog & their owner in the park, we have to practice this so if we meet you, please bear with us!

After the training, we let Poppy off the lead and she had a play with one of the other dogs, although, to be honest, once she’s met the dog, she’s over it! She doesn’t really know how to ‘play’ with other dogs, so we’re going to attend socialising walks to help her. She did, however, show off her much improved recall skills and kept going to whoever called her (& whoever had the best treats!) I was so proud of her – She coped really well in a new situation and was definitely the best dog in the class, not that I’m biased!

Poppy on Lookout

Along with a few other techniques we’re practising, we’re hoping to reduce her frustration at home. She sits right by the front of the house & goes crazy whenever someone knocks at the door or at next door, when the post comes, when a car stops outside… I could go on.

The other thing we’re working on is stopping her pulling on the lead when we go out for walks. She already wears a harness & sadly, my OH & I aren’t interesting enough to distract her from all the smells she encounters in the park. This means that we’ll probably need to try head collar, as it restricts their head movement. I’ve been hoping we wouldn’t as I know Poppy isn’t going to like it one bit, but everyone will benefit if she walks better on the lead. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

For now, I’m going to bask in the joy of her success so far, which includes a longer play session on Monday where she played with a toy for about 5 whole minutes! This is a new record! So proud!

The Poppy Diaries – Week 3

Poppydog

Things have settled down a bit this week. After Poppy choosing her own bed last weekend, bedtimes have been much smoother. Poppy comes upstairs with us, sniffs around while we get ready for bed & then settles down quite nicely. She usually sleeps until we get up & knows what the alarm is in the morning! She’s definitely happier, as are we as we get to sleep longer! Yes! We’ve also been working on her training & she’s pretty much nailed sit, wait (at the side of the road) and has really improved on ‘stay’. We’re really proud doggy parents!

Tonight we’re taking her to frustration training and I’m really hoping that this will help with her frustration when she: meets other dogs, meets new people, smells squirrels, sees pigeons, wants attention & doesn’t get it, and when she can’t see what’s going on. She loves to be the centre of attention. We had someone come over to measure up for new carpet on the stairs this week. Fortunately  he loved dogs, as Poppy was all over him! She climbed up next to him, stood on him & presented herself to him so that he would rub her belly!

Poppydog

Poppy has had me in stitches a few times this week. The other day she was standing in the garden, sniffing the air, and her (massive) ears were blowing in the wind!

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

  • She really does behave like a puppy. We’ve been reading more about training her this week & she shows lots of puppy behaviour. For example, when she thinks we’re playing, she bites like a puppy. In order to rectify this, we have to yelp at her like a puppy would.
  • She doesn’t know how to play with other dogs. Poppy has met a lot of dogs in the park this week, but beyond basic hello’s, she doesn’t know what else to do with them. One dog wanted to play with her, but because he didn’t do the puppy biting, Poppy didn’t know what to do.
  • She doesn’t like the hoover, like most dogs but doesn’t mind the drill one bit! She also isn’t keen on the ironing board. (I know how she feels!)
  • When Poppy yawns, she howls! I love this bit about her, as it really shows her hound side. And it’s supercute!
  • Poppy wishes she could climb trees! Whenever she sees a squirrel or a pigeon, she follows the scent to the tree it’s in, she bounds about on her hind legs, trying desperately to climb the tree with her front paws! She’s so funny!

Poppy has met a lot of people in the park this week, and everyone concludes that she is adorable! Her massive ears & paws that come from the Basset Hound in her make her stand out and they make her really cute!

I’m really keen to go to the frustration training later on. When she smells or sees a squirrel she goes crazy & pulls on the lead like her life depends on it. It can make the walk quite unpleasant if she doesn’t calm down. She’s so focused on the smell, that we might as well not exist – we cannot get her attention for love nor money! Fingers crossed!