Tag: poppy

Happy Anniversary Poppy!

We had a little anniversary in the house over the weekend. It’s been twelve months since we brought Poppy home from the Blue Cross. It’s gone so quickly but in some respects, it’s like we’ve had her forever!

meeting poppyWe’ve had some adventures, some scary, like when she choked on her food, and some brilliant, like our holiday in Cornwall. Everyday she does something new that surprises us. When she yawns, she often howls a bit, which is hilarious! We’re always getting stopped when we walk her, because people are curious about her or think she’s adorable (which she is!)

under the table

We’re always working on her training and getting her to improve her behaviour. At the moment we’re working on reducing her separation anxiety. The other night, she barked for almost the whole hour while we were at the pub. So we’re going to get some help with a 1-2-1 training session from a local dog trainer. In the meantime, we’re trying the mat & kong system that we saw on Dogs: Their Secret Lives. After just a few days, it’s going really well. She’ll sit and stay on her mat while she chews her kong. We’ve gone as far as to stay in the kitchen while this happens, so tomorrow we’ll be moving into a completely different room. Fingers crossed!

enjoying the gardenI can’t wait to see what the next 12 months has in store for us and Poppy, hopefully a few more lie ins, as Poppy is very much an early bird! I’m so pleased we adopted her and were able to give her a happy home.

Walking Poppy the Dog

I’ve written before about how Poppy seems to think her walks are a chance to eat everything on the pavement. It got even worse when the clocks changed last autumn and it became clear that it’s almost impossible to walk her in the dark. Because her sight isn’t as good in the dark, she pretty much throws herself at wrappers, stones, cigarette butts, anything she can remotely see in the hope that it’s food. We’ve checked with the vet that we are feeding her enough and they are happy with her food intake and her weight. They’ve suggested that she was underfed before we adopted her and scavenged from a young age. It’s highly unlikely that she’ll never grow out of this. So to try and stop her throwing herself across the pavement, tripping us up in the process and making each walk feel like we’ve been wrestling a pig, we’ve been training her.

Dog Walking

Dog owners. Do you talk to your dog while walking them? I do. All the time. Poppy walks a lot better when she’s given attention, regular praise and treats. I must look and sound like a complete loony, calling her along, telling her she’s cute and a good girl… But walks are always more successful when I do. Here are some of her commands:

  • ‘This Way’ – when I want to go in one direction and Poppy wants to go in another. Or I’ve spotted some food just out of her reach and want her to come to me instead of having her pull me with her towards it.
  • ‘Leave’ – I use this when she’s got to food or something she shouldn’t be eating. She’s supposed to leave what she’s found and come and get a treat. This works really well, 75% of the time! I’ve managed to get her to spit things out and come to me for a treat. However, there are times when it doesn’t work and it’s so frustrating!
  • ‘Poppy Here’ – This is her command to come to me straight away, though if there’s a squirrel nearby, I haven’t got a hope of getting her attention, which is why she isn’t allowed off the lead.
  • ‘Walk’ – If there’s a lot of rubbish ahead or it’s bin day and we need to get Poppy’s attention, I hold a treat up by shoulder and tell Poppy to walk. She watches me and walks in a pretty straight line. This is a great way of getting her past lots of distractions.
  • ‘Wait’ – Obviously, this one’s for crossing the street or for when I need to catch up with her. She’s pretty good at this, especially if you give the lead a little tug. She’ll wait for as long as you want, until you say ‘Go’. She gets lots of looks from drivers as we wait at traffic lights on our morning walk.

PoppyDogIt can be quite frustrating, because you’ll have a really great walk, where she does everything she’s told, gets lots of rewards and attention, then as we’re nearly home, she’ll do something she’s not supposed to or ignore your command. She’s much better at meeting other dogs, mainly because we’re a lot calmer and we’re learning to read other dog owners, to see if they’re happy with Poppy meeting their dog. If they are, we let the lead go long, they sniff each other, the other dog gets hit in the face by Poppy’s giant tail and we move on.

Dog WalksHalf the battle with Poppy is being prepared and making sure we’ve got lots of treats to hand. That way, when she does something good, we can reward her straight away. The difficulty is getting her not to eat food from the street. It’s quite worrying because we don’t always know what she’s eaten. While putting a muzzle on her would stop this straight away, we want to try and train her to ignore the food. She’s definitely getting better, so we are making progress. The improved weather makes a massive difference, because training your dog to walk better in the rain is no fun whatsoever!

Walking the DogSo if you see a crazy lady, talking to her dog, while walking round the park, that’ll be me, trying to train Poppy! Have you had to train your dog to walk better? Let me know if you have any tips!

The Poppy Diaries – Lazing Around

I don’t know about where you are, but it’s raining again here in Abingdon today. Yawn. Poppy is well and truely fed up of getting wet, wearing her coat and needing to be dried off everytime she goes outside. Not only that, but she refuses to go outside when it’s raining. Yep, she barks at us when we open the door to try and get her to go outside to the loo! So we’ve shortened out walks and at times, when the rain has been really heavy, gone down to just one walk a day, not that Poppy minds much. She’s happy to walk as much or as little as we do. Plus, with both me and my OH being poorly, we’ve not been up to much. So I thought I’d share some of my favourite recent picturs of Poppy, some of which really make me smile! (These were all taken on my iPhone, so apologies for the quality. Poppy does not like having her picture taken so you have to be really quick.)

Dog yawn

When it’s nearly time for Poppy to have her tea, she very rarely settles until she gets it. If you’re sitting on the sofa, she will walk all over, and over the back of the sofa, until she gets her tea. She’s a demanding little diva!

Sleepy Poppy

She’s exactly the same in the morning too. I normally get up, do some back & knee exercises and a few yoga and pilates exercises. Almost the whole time I’m doing them, Poppy is in my face, climbing over me, sitting on my yoga mat, until I’m done and can go and feed her. Once she’s been fed, she’s ready to go back to bed. Looks like butter wouldn’t melt doesn’t she?

proud Poppy

I love this picture of her as you can see almost all the different breeds in one go: Her Spaniel head and a few Spaniel curls in her lower back fur, her basset front paws and ears; and her long Daschund body and tail.

Poppydog

This picture makes me laugh. If you deign to disturb Poppy while she’s sleeping, you better be prepared to rub her belly. Or you get this scathing look!

Awkward Poppy

Again, apologies for the quality of this one, but I had to take it quickly. Every now and then, Poppy does something brand new that surprises us and makes us smile. Like getting up on our footstool and sitting there quite nicely, which she did the other night. Then, she fell off as her back legs weren’t on it properly. Bless. Made us chuckle though! She is quality entertainment. What’s the funniest thing your pet has ever done?

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Blenheim Palace

I don’t know about where you live, but last Sunday, Oxfordshire was bathed in sun. What a gorgeous treat, after so much rain. We took the opportunity to head out with Poppy. So many of our favourite haunts are/have been under water so they’re either inaccessible or incredibly muddy. Therefore, we decided to head to the beautiful Blenheim Palace. Despite living close to it, we don’t go very often and I’m not sure why, because it’s a great place for walking.

From the bridge

We were quite late in getting there on Sunday so we had to park quite a distance from the Palace, which is where we were starting our walk from. We parked on grass, which was quite muddy due to the recent downpours we’ve enjoyed, but didn’t have any problem getting out! Blenheim Palace is incredibly popular and there were plenty of dogs, families and runners out enjoying the sun.

Duke of Marlborough

We headed straight over the bridge away from the Palace and veered left that meant we could do a circular walk around the palace grounds (though we didn’t know this at the time!) The benefit of this is that it meant we could stick to the tarmac and avoid the mud, though Poppy wanted to walk on the grass, as that was where all the best smells were!

sunny woods

Unfortunately for Poppy, we only saw one squirrel, but there were plenty of pheasants, which Poppy couldn’t really see, but boy could she smell them! There were also a few pheasant carcasses lying around, but we were pretty quick at enticing Poppy away from them. Blenheim Palace is also home to grazing sheep, so dogs need to be kept on leads at all times and be aware that the sheep are fenced in with electric fencing. The sheep are well used to visitors and dogs and I’m pleased to report that Poppy behaved very well among them!

in the sun

Dogs are allowed all throughout the parklands around the Palace, but they aren’t allowed in the Formal Gardens, Courtyards or Pleasure Gardens. Our walk was a bit of a mission, but that’s because we didn’t pick up a map and plan it. We did plan to have tea and cake from the Pantry, but the queue was huge and Poppy was getting cold so we abandoned that idea. The Pantry is well worth a visit though, as the cakes are lush! If you’d prefer, you can always take a picnic to enjoy.

The back of Blenheim

We wanted to upgrade our park and gardens ticket so we could get an Annual Pass. However, the queue on Sunday was massive and can’t seem to be able to do this online. We’ll end up getting an Annual Pass next time we go though, as it’s a great place for dog walking, with so many different routes available. Can’t wait to go back!

The Walk: One of the best things about Blenheim Palace is the vastness of the grounds. There are so many different routes to take that you could go a different way every time you visit, making it great value for money. They also provide you with a handy map so you can figure out where you’re going!
Cost: As we went out of season, we only paid £4 each, however, it is a bit more when everything is open. Here’s a link to the prices in full.
Car Park: As Blenheim Palace is used to hosting major events, there’s plenty of free car parking available. If you arrive late on a busy day, you might be quite far from the main building, but that just means you can eat more cake in the Pantry!
Refreshments: Depending what type of refreshments you’re after, there’s something to suit everyone. We usually just get something from the Oxfordshire Pantry and head outside with Poppy.
Toilets: There are toilets inside the East Courtyard Shop, which is well worth a visit in itself.