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Here are some of the previous articles in the Dog Blog.  

Friday 14th December - How to stop dogs barking at the phone

The Problem
The most annoying habit that Jamie has is to bark furiously every time the phone rings.  We wouldn't mind if he stopped once we answered the call but oh no.  As soon as one of us says, "Hello." the barking becomes a frenzy. It's deafening and what's worse is that now Sasha has joined our family she has also joined in the barking.  The noise level has increased by about 100 million times.  It's got to the point where if you can actually hear anything the caller is nearly always saying something like,  "Hello Jamie and Sasha.  Can I speak to your Mum please?"  

I suppose we could have tried harder to train them out of it but there are times when it's actually useful.  With the gruesome twosome around you're guaranteed never to miss a call, even if you happen to be in the shed at the bottom of the garden.  The trouble is, now that the winter's come we are in the shed less and less and the barking has got even worse.  Ring, ring, bark, bark, woof, bark woo woo woo, bark, woof.  It even drowns out the ringing. 

The Solution
There are ways of training dogs to stop this sort of unwanted behaviour but as ever I believe in the easiest least painful, and least active route and the dogs don't even know they're being trained.  Here's what we did.  We took ourselves off to Argos and bought a lovely new phone with a large selection of ringtones, none of which sound like a phone.  We took the thing home and worked out what some of the buttons were for and then we tried out the ringtones.   Jamie and Sasha were snoozing peacefully while their humans played with this stupid new toy. It wasn't any good as a tuggie and it didn't hand out food so it was of no interest to discerning dogs.  We settled on the least annoying ringtone and then we rang the new phone with a mobile.  The twosome didn't turn a hair.  They had no idea it was a telephone ringing. At long last there was a blessed silence.   The only problem so far is that all our callers think they've dialled the wrong number and when we reassure them it's us they think the dogs are ill because it's so quiet.   

Friday 19th October - Dog Towing


Early morning on Byfleet rec

One morning, when we were visiting Surrey we saw the most amazing thing. As dog activities go, I wouldn't recommend it for the faint hearted but it was brilliant to watch. We were taking Jamie and Sasha out to the recreation ground for their early morning ablutions when something whizzed past us at a rate of knots and took off in the direction of the children's playground.  We stared in amazement. 
  "Better not let Jamie off yet.  He'll chase that," I said so we stood and watched as a man on a bike, towed by a pair of huskies, went sailing off into the distance.  The huskies had absolutely no problem towing and they achieved quite a remarkable speed.   
  "I wonder how they stop," I said as the bike hurtled off towards the trees.  A moment later we found out as both dogs skidded to a halt and wound their leads round a tree.  Bike-man stayed upright, but only just. Once the dogs had sorted themselves out they were off again.  They belted all the way round the rec with both huskies straining at the leashes and bike-man clinging on for dear life.  Other dog walkers rushed to grab their dogs and put them on the lead. 
   "I haven't seen him for ages," one of them said. " He only goes round the once and then he takes them home."
She pulled her two dogs in closer to her as bike-man and his huskies came speeding across the rec in our direction.
  "I'll tell you what though," she continued, "He came over here one day and the dogs suddenly ran either side of a tree."
We tried to look shocked but it was impossible.  The picture was all too vivid and soon all the dog walkers were joining in with the laughter.
  "That's what happened to the one of the saplings," someone said and they pointed to a small tree that was leaning at a crazy angle.  "The other one was ripped right out of the ground."
Oh how we laughed.  It was a crazy way to exercise dogs but I could hardly criticise.  After all, I'd  had my own little foray into dog towing. 

I once borrowed a pair of roller skates from a friend's daughter to see if Hazel would tow me along.  She did!  In true sprollie fashion she got right into the spirit of the thing and took off down the garden path with me flying along behind on the roller skates.  It was then that it occurred to me that we had no stopping mechanism. 
  "Help,! " I cried as we sailed round the corner.  It was at this point that I hit the dustbins while the dog went straight on.  Oh dear.  I guess we all do daft things with our dogs sometimes.  It's what makes having them such fun.

Friday 5th October -  The gruesome twosome loose in Surrey

The trouble at Grandma's really started on Tuesday evening.  We'd already gone to bed when Jamie got up and said, "I want to go out and it's URGENT."
Grandma lives in sheltered accommodation and she doesn't have a garden, so Bernie climbed out of bed and got dressed.  He came back ten minutes later and confirmed the worst.  "He's got the runs.  It's porridge and it's your turn next time."
At twenty to two it happened again and I duly got up and took him out.  It was watery this time and Jamie was straining.  Bernie did the next stint at quarter to five and then we both got up early and took the dogs onto the recreation ground.

Later we took Jamie to the vet who declared him to be doing quite well.  He prescribed antibiotics and said,
  "Don't let them eat fox poohWe've been finding campylobacter in the local fox pooh and it will cause all of you to be ill for weeks."

He should not have said this within the hearing of one of the gruesome twosome.  They may look sweet and innocent but they're not.  As soon as Jamie and Sasha hit the rec for their afternoon foray they started eating fox pooh and then Sasha rolled in it. As part of a gruesome twosome she wasn't content with that.  Suddenly she was the friendliest dog on the rec and everyone had to say hello and tickle her under the chin.  It was a bit like having a naughty child who'd bought something nasty from a joke shop and hidden it in the palm of their hand.   "Hello.  Go on say hello to me.  Ha ha!   Ha ha ha ha ha!  Look at your hand.  Ha ha ha ha!"

I have been told that tomato ketchup is good for getting rid of the smell of fox pooh but what do you do with it? Do you wash the dog and then put on the ketchup or do you put it on top of the fox pooh and leave it for a while? I could just see Sasha racing into Grandma's all covered in a sticky combination of fox pooh and tomato ketchup.  The first thing she would want to do would be to rub it all off on Grandma's bed.  It wasn't an option. Armed with a bucket of warm water, some Pantene shampoo and Avon Soft Musk body spray, I cleaned her up in the communal garden outside.  The combination of shampoo and body spray worked quite well and for at least five minutes she smelled like a girl. 

Unfortunately with dogs you can't have everything and the gruesome twosome just couldn't bear the idea of one of them smelling sweetly of perfume and shampoo. As soon as they were able they laid there gently letting go of their wind.  What with this and the pong of cow pooh which started wafting in from the farm next door we really had no chance, but at least the dogs were happy.

 Sunday 23rd September - Cornwall Agility Show

What a lovely weekend we had for the two day show at Wadebridge.  It was Sasha's first proper weekend of competition.  At least that was the theory.  Ha ha!  Ha ha ha ha!   I had foolishly entered her in the large jumping and agility classes for both days.  Jamie actually ran first in the veterans jumping and he did a splendid clear in just 19 seconds.  Then came Sasha in large grade 1,2 and 3 combined jumping.  Oh dear.  It went something like this.  Jump, spin, jump, jump, jump.  Oooh lovely there's the tunnel, let's run under the jump to get to it. Oops! back under the same jump, ELIMINATED.  Jump, spin bark, bark, bark, under this jump, spin and so on.  well that was fun wasn't it?  Large agility grade 1 was even worse.  Bernie actually recorded it on film and when we got back to the car he looked at the clip.  "Blimey!  Did she really take 3 minutes 52 seconds in the ring."  People sitting in the nearby cars sniggered.  I did actually want to leave the ring before we'd got round but the judge looked at me very sternly and said, "KEEP GOING."  The truth was, Sasha wasn't sufficiently prepared for the large classes and she was totally and utterly overexcited.  I was never going to get anything but mad yapping and spinning, so the next day we forgot about the large jumps and went in for the anysize agility. 

Jamie went first again in the veterans agility and what a lovely clear round he did.  He was only just pushed out of the places and there were some very fast and experienced dogs in the class.  Then came Sasha in the anysize and Oh dear.  There's only one thing to do when you know disaster is looming and that's to make people laugh.  I knew very well that Sasha wouldn't do a jump and then the A-frame when the tunnel was anywhere in sight, so on the start line I said in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear.
"Now listen to me.  It's jump and then A-frame.  Have you got that?"  I let go of Sasha and she shot over the jump and straight off the tunnel.   You can hear the laughter on the video clip.  Ah well.  More training required for both of us and some obedience classes too. 

Are we worried about the fiasco.  Not a bit.  Sasha went along for the experience and thoroughly enjoyed it.  In time we'll learn to be team and she'll know what I want and I'll know what she needs.  The first time she goes clear she's going to win but we've got a whole lot of eliminations to get through before that.   
The photos are stills from the video clips, hence the quality.  I'm currently looking for an excuse to buy a better video camera.

Video clips:

Veterans Jumping

Veterans agility

Anysize agility    

 Monday 13th August - Cowboy Country

We were going to work the other morning when Bernie suddenly said,
  "You can tell this is cowboy country."
  "Cowboy country?" I asked, astonished  How can you tell?"
  "The road signs are peppered with shot."

I must say this was something I hadn't noticed before but maybe it was because I'd become so used to it. 

Even at work no-one raised an eyebrow when I asked if I could have a new waste bin because mine had been shot.  In the event it took the sheriff who guards the stationery cupboard about a month to find out how to order a waste bin using triplicate requisition forms and to tell me that he couldn't do it.  Perhaps if I'd asked for a six shooter he'd have got one out of the cupboard and handed it over.  Thank goodness Jamie and Sasha don't care about being Civil Service dogs.  They are mostly happy to live in cowboy country.

If a gun goes off Jamie will dive for cover in true cowboy fashion and both dogs like to pretend that the dogs barking up the road are really coyotes howling on the prairie.  What they really like though is to do some line dancing.

I'm sure they enjoy the exercise and the discipline of learning to dance.  We can do a few twirls and leg kicks and a fair bit of stepping up and down and side to side.  Jamie can do the leg weaving bit and Sasha's learning how to do this as well.  There is a slight possibility that they only do this for food but what the hell.  As they say in cowboy country, "A dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do."


Thursday 19th July - Dispelling a jumping myth by Karen

To dispel all the myths that once a dog learns to jump it will jump anything it feels like! My Sadie has been doing agility for 4 months now and boy can she jump! We have a picket fence at home to seperate the garden from the patio area and all my friends said that once she started jumping...... Well she was so eager to have a closer look at next doors garden as we were helping replace the fence panels - no she could have quite easily jumped the picket fence as she was on her hind legs looking over but she didn't as I have never asked her to jump that (and never will)! So there you go.... I am so proud of her.

Tuesday 3rd July - Sasha's first holiday

I now consider myself something of a dog sick expert.  I say this after a particularly awful journey to see Grandma in Surrey.  I know I should try and put it behind me, but it was so awful that I thought maybe it should be recorded for posterity. It especially should be recorded for those thinking of getting another dog.  If you are squeamish then don't read all of this.  You can jump to here

For the less squeamish and schoolboys:
Dog sick is actually nastier than baby sick but not quite as nasty as child sick. It comes in two varieties, dry and wet, according to what the dog has eaten or drunk.  Sasha suffered from both varieties and she also drooled for England all the way to Surrey.  By the time we were nearing Grandma's we thought surely there couldn't be anything left in her stomach and she must be running out of drool.  Wrong!  With just a mile to go we both said,
  "What's that smell?"   Then Jamie started pawing at us,
  "Mum, Dad,  Sasha's been sick all over the seat and it's rolling towards me."

Oh God.  That's all we needed,  arriving at Grandma's  with both dogs and the car covered in watery sick. 
"Can I have a bucket and some kitchen towels?" isn't the best way to introduce a new dog to an in-law who's looking forward to her eighty second birthday.  Luck was smiling down on us however.  Grandma was still over the road at the day centre and we had time to clean up and wash the dogs before she came back. 


The squeamish can start reading again from here:
 As luck would have it Grandma and Sasha really took to each other.  Grandma thought Sasha was pretty little dog and Sasha thought it was wonderful to have someone with nothing better to do than sit in a chair and hang onto one end of a toy.   It's quite small in Grandma's sheltered flat and there's no garden, but as far the dogs are concerned this is a good thing.  It means they are never going to be far away from food and they get taken out several times a day.  Just behind Grandma's flat there is a large recreation ground and they can run and run to their hearts' content.  I'm afraid both dogs came back a bit wild after they'd been to Surrey but they did seem to enjoy it.  I'm just hoping that Sasha gets used to the car soon.

Kathy comments:
My old dog Repo used to throw up terribly in the car - then a lady who used to show Manchesters told me to give him half a child's travel sickness tablet before he travelled until he got used to travelling. It's probably frowned on by the veterinary profession, but I did it, and it worked, and because he stopped worrying about being sick in the car I was able to reduce the tablet down to nothing other than the magic Ritz biscuit that he used to have the tablet stuck to with butter....
Pat: Thank you for very much for your advice.  I'm going to try Skullcap and Valerian first and if this doesn't work I'll try the child's travel sickness pills.  I think a lot of it is down to fear as her previous owners didn't have a car.  

Wednesday 20th June - Stella's Staffie's in season

Help  how do I keep unwanted dogs away from my staffi bitch who has just come into season? Do the tablets work?
I've never tried using the tablets but hopefully they will work.  You can also get sprays that help to mask the  smell.  We had our bitches spayed after the first season.  Before we had them done though it was really a question of keeping them in for three weeks or so during the season.  We did manage some small walks when the bitches weren't quite so attractive to the dogs but we had to be very vigilant.   Dogs can smell a bitch in season when they are a very long way away so you will probably find some hopeful boys that you've never seen before hanging around the house for a few days. - Pat
P.S. The best way to ask for help is to join the forum and hopefully you'll get lots of answers.


Wednesday 6th June - Getting a mugshot for the record book

Here we go again. It hardly seems five minutes since I was struggling to get a decent mugshot of Jamie for his record book.  Now I've got to do the same for Sasha.  This afternoon I traipsed after her for what seemed like miles with the camera switched on and ready.   This is what happened.


Jamie got into every shot and Sasha kept looking in the wrong direction....


.....then we took some nice ones of Jamie's backside.....


....and finally Jamie stole the show.

Eventually I found the perfect mugshot. 

It was the first one I'd taken of course only I wasn't wearing my glasses and I thought it hadn't come out very well.

Monday 4th June - First agility lessons for Sasha

The first few days are over.  There have been no major fights and in spite of Bernie's dire prediction that we would come home from work to find blood all over the walls and the police outside the house Jamie appears to have accepted the presence of Sasha. 

She's wearing us out.  With any luck we'll all lose weight and get much fitter.  Today they've been out for a run  before work and then we had a long trek up the moors this afternoon.  Ten minutes after getting home I managed to sneak Sasha out for training while Jamie had a rest. 

She had a little go over a jump the other day although she didn't seem overly impressed.  I thought I'd try again today.

  "Why do you want me to jump over it when I can just walk round?  Are you stupid or what?"

We had to start with heelwork though.  We've had a bit of bother with that.  Sasha's not used to walking to heel or even on the lead.  She only knows about chasing a toy.  Eventually she started to get the hang of it so I got the jump out again and told her that this was fun. All a sudden she agreed. 

  "Wow this is great but why is it such a piddling little thing?  I can jump three feet high if I want to."

We did it a few times and then I found out how to teach a border collie/gannet to go across the dogwalk.  You place titbits up the ramps and over the top.  Then you point the dog/gannet at it and the rest comes naturally.


When the gannet part is dominant it will go across the dogwalk one way and then back again to see if the titbits have reappeared. 

After this Sasha quite happily started sequencing with a jump, a right turn and the dogwalk.  Then she asked for a pen and paper so that she could design a course for us.

Back home Jamie looked at me ruefully.

  "You've been out with that dog/gannet thing."

  "No I haven't.  Not really."

  "You're lying.  I want to go out too"

  "Well don't let Sasha see us go then."

So I had to traipse out of the door again with a dog in tow.  Oh well that's dogs for you.  I'm knackered.

Sunday 6th May - Do you take your dog to work?

I just wondered because over the years I've worked in a variety of places where dogs were welcome.  The farm was relatively easy.  The dog just pootled about with the farm dogs and the workers' dogs until it was time for us all to go home.  Getting a dog into the kennels was a bit more tricky.  The lady owner wasn't too keen on crossbreeds but the dog could come with me on the first day and see how we got on.  Ahem.  At lunch time I went into the house to find our dog curled up comfortably in the best armchair.  She was well fed and watered and living the life of Riley while I worked.  Later she accompanied the lady owner upstairs and curled up on the bed with her for an afternoon nap.  So much for not liking crossbreeds.  I had to prise her away from the lady's clutches when I wanted to take her home. 

The restaurant kitchen wasn't a place you'd expect to find dogs but I guess the owners weren't too worried as they had their own dogs and they were good at cleaning up scraps.  It was probably a good job the health inspector didn't do  his bit, but no-one got food poisoning.  The plant nursery was OK too as there was plenty of garden for a small dog to amuse herself.  The cleaning job in the YMCA centre wouldn't have been the same without the staff dogs running riot, and other places I've cleaned have said the dog was welcome too.  In fact I always seem to have had a dog trailing round after me until I went to work in the tax office. I tried it on though. 

One morning a higher manager came down from on high to tell us what we had to do that day and I seized my opportunity. 
  "Can I bring my dog to work with me?"
  "Oooh yes."  There was a chorus of approval from the assembled staff. 
  "Can I bring mine as well?"
  "What sort of dog have you got?"
  "I've got a retriever cross.  He'll fetch and carry messages if I teach him people's names."
  "Oooh lovely, I've got a German Shepherd and he'd love to come to work with me."
The discussion continued until the higher manager suddenly realised what she had been drawn into.
  "Can we all please stop talking about dogs.  I'm trying to do your shift briefing."
  "So can I bring my dog?"
  "No."  And that was that.  Even on "Take your dog to work day" they wouldn't let Jamie come and piddle on the forms.  We have had a visiting cat a few times and my friend managed to sneak a puppy in for everyone to cuddle, but apart from that we're dogless at the tax office.  They don't know what they're missing.

Comments from Kirsty & Billy Woof
Hello. I am very lucky in that I have the pleasure of Billy's company at work all day every day. I'm self-employed in garden design/landscaping & we get around lots of different gardens & meet some very nice people & some scarey cats/frogs/spiders. It was because of my job that it seemed rude not to give a dog a home! I also feel safer having him with him coz he is such a tough guy ... hahahahaha!! Billy practices jumping over brush handles, hoes, etc. He has a fine collection of pilfered balls. One day I worked in a garden with a ball pool - Billy had to go sulk in the land rover as it was just too tempting!

Saturday 21st April - Still looking for Jamie's Companion

I've told Jamie that he's going to get new little brother or sister soon but we're still looking.  The ideal dogs seem to be appearing all over the country but miles away from Cornwall.  Bernie really didn't want to drive all the way to Durham to meet a cavalier cross even though she was just what we would have liked.  Supposing Jamie didn't like her or she didn't like us.       

We don't mind waiting for the right dog to come along but I was really mad this morning when I discovered that our ISP is blocking emails from a lot of websites and they've vanished into the ether.  No wonder we've only had one reply to our ads!  (Sadly this dog wasn't suitable as he was too big and strong.)  I was so annoyed that I wanted to change ISPs immediately but then the thought of changing email addresses put me off.  Jamie said, "Why don't you just go and bite them?"  Hmmm.  I'm not sure that's quite the right approach but you never know, it could work.    Anyway, we went for a walk in the woods instead.   


Wednesday 11th April - A peacock meets his mate and Jamie meets his Waterloo

Well, the Easter show was over and done with.  Jamie had gone well in veterans and now it was time for a bit of relaxation.  On Easter Monday we decided to visit Pencarrow, our local stately home.  This is the place where Jamie constantly gets into trouble, but amazingly is still allowed in.   This time I was determined that nothing awful would happen.
  "If you meet Lady Molesworth St Aubyn you are not to jump up and bark," I told him, "and what's more you are not going to hump the aristocracy and you are certainly not trampling any of the daffodils."

And so we walked sedately round the grounds as befits a veteran dog.  There was a lovely little rill with crystal clear water tinkling gently over rocks and forming little pools.
  "Are you keeping Jamie on the lead?" Bernie asked, "I suppose we ought to keep him out of
...........KERRRSPLOSH.....the water."   He didn't even finish the sentence before Jamie had jumped into the water and churned the pool to mud.  Splash, thump, "This is great fun, look how wet I am."
Oh Great.  Now we had the difficult task of keeping a wet and dirty dog away from clean and tidy visitors all the way round the narrow paths and back to the tea garden.

At least this time we'd made it round the grounds without causing too much of a disturbance, but when we reached the tea gardens there were no tables free and we had to wait.  Unfortunately Jamie isn't much good at waiting  patiently and so he amused himself by trying to kill a rabbit in front of the children in the children's play area.  The rabbit was convinced it was safe behind bars and didn't even attempt to move away.  I thought it was better if it stayed that way and hauled Jamie away from his entertainment.  Before long though he came face to face with the chickens. 

Now it just so happens that chicken is one of Jamie's favourite meals.  It's even better than horse pooh, although you can't roll in a chicken unless you kill it first.   I  suspect the Pencarrow chickens are well used to little toe rags like Jamie wanting to cause mayhem but I wasn't going to hang around  to find out. At last we managed to find a table in a relatively safe area  away from the all the domestic fowl and the childrens' pets except the peacocks.. 

Bernie fetched us tea and cakes and a Bonio and we settled down to enjoy the gardens and watch the peacocks.  I felt a little nervous as one of these beautiful birds came almost within snapping distance of Jamie's jaws.  There weren't actually any signs that said, "Please don't eat the peacocks," but I guessed it was taken for granted that this wouldn't be allowed.  Anyway, we'd just finished our first cup of tea and Jamie was looking for something more interesting to eat than a Bonio when this particular peacock suddenly spotted a beautiful and somewhat charming little peahen.  She was quite coquettish as she tripped her way towards him and she was clearly entranced when the peacock strutted up to the front of the garden to give her a courtship display.  It looked for all the world as if he'd been paid to come onstage and do the cabaret. 

I hadn't realised before now that peacocks actually shiver their tails during the display and that their quills actually rattle.  There was big, "Ooooh," from the visitors when this happened and everyone got their cameras out.  Everyone that is except Jamie.

We suddenly realised that our chicken killing monster had gone extremely quiet. In fact he was not only quiet he was trying his best to hide behind a chair.   Even so he couldn't help staring with a horrible fascination at the spectacle that was taking place before us.  His face said it all.  It simply wasn't fair.  How on earth had the funny looking chicken done that?  One minute it was pecking around the table looking as if it might make a tasty meal and the next it had turned into a huge and awesome monster.  The thing was noisy too.  A rattling Chicken for heavens sake!  Whoever had heard of such a thing.  It was clearly very, very dangerous and we would all be better off in the car. 

At last the peacock finished his display and we all put our cameras away.  Jamie crept out cautiously from behind the chair and seemed quite relieved that it was time to go home.

That night we were woken several times by frantic barking.  Jamie was fast asleep and twitching like mad and it didn't take a genius to work out what he was doing.  He might not have had the courage to face the peacock in real life but in his dreams he was a big and dashing  monster slayer.  He was the king of the tea gardens and nothing and no-one was going to stop him.

 It seemed a pity to wake him up so we left him to dream on. 

Here's a short movie clip of the peacock.  Miss Peahen had decided she'd had enough of his posing and posturing by the time we took this.  "He's just another silly male showing off, " she said and went to join the chickens.

Pencarrow House is at Washaway in Cornwall and they have won the Dog's Trust 2004 award for "We are Dog Friendly" Tourist Attraction/Day Out.

Saturday  7th April - Jamie goes into veterans

We've been having a lovely time at the Kernow K9 two day Easter show this year.  Jamie's been in fine voice and has announced his arrival on both days.  He's also decided it's time to do lower jumps.  When you get to his age it's much more fun to do a height you know you can do easily and especially when the course is uphill.

We had a go at two courses with two foot jumps but it was too much effort, so today we just did the veterans class.  We found ourselves competing against the dogs we'd  started training with many years ago, and also against some very good senior dogs and handlers.  Jamie found the course easy but the handler (me) went and said "Here" at the wrong point and called him past a jump.  I got five faults for that.

I think Jamie's going to enjoy lower jumps in the veterans classes future in spite of my Civil Service colleagues telling me he is now supposed to behave with dignity and decorum.  (No chance). Hopefully he will soon have a companion to do all the hard work in the other classes but at the moment we are still looking for our new family member. 

Sunday  25th March - Spot the difference

Jamie doesn't know it but he has a double out there.  The lovely dog on the right is called Billy and he belongs to Kirsty Horne.
We think they look rather similar and  Kirsty says of her Billy,

He is a little angel on paws - v. nervous with other dogs & new people, but very clever, kind, and super speedy!!"

At his point of course, I began to spot a few differences.  Billy looks like a dog that's up for a game or something more energetic like agility.  Jamie looks like a dog that's been woken from a pleasant sleep and dragged into the garden to have his photo taken.  Billy is super speedy whereas Jamie takes the scrimer's cry of, "In your own time," to mean just that.  It's true he did win something once but all the faster dogs had jumped off the contacts.  This was one time when ambling down the dogwalk really came into its own.

Finally we have the "Little angel on paws."  Ahem.  I suppose I could  ask friends and family and some of our dog club members if they think this applies to Jamie, but I don't want to be responsible for anyone dying of laughter.  So there we have it.  Two very different versions of the flat coated retriever/collie cross.   Sorry Jamie.  You might be a little horror sometimes but you know very well you're our little horror and that's how you get away with it.

Monday 5th March - A dog the size of a pony


The Tatra Mountain Dog is about the size of the Bernese mountain dog above and that's big. Photo courtesy of Dawn Turner

A few weeks ago Bernie suddenly said that he thought Jamie was happier when he had the company of another dog.  (He's complained about me calling him the husband). I'd been telling him that for ages so you can imagine how delighted I was when he came to that conclusion all by himself.  I should have known what was going to happen next.   
Only Bernie could fall for the weird and wonderful and the dog in question was a Tatra Mountain Dog. This delightful animal can only be found in Poland.  As soon as he discovered it shouts of joy started coming from the direction of the computer.  Then, for two hours he trawled through various sites and discovered more and more information. 
  "They use them to guard the sheep against wolves," he said.
  "How big are they?"
  "They're handsome looking dogs as well."
  "Yes, but how big are they?"
  "Not very big.  Jamie would love one of those."
By this time I was peering at the screen and trying to make out just what size this wonderful breed of dog was.  It was hard to tell at first but as the screen rolled down and more pictures came into view I could see just what I had feared most.  The Tatra Mountain Dog was about the size of a small pony.  Put a saddle on it and you could ride the thing round a jumping course. 
   "It's too big," I said.
  "Jamie would love it."
  "It's still too big and besides, are you really going to Poland to get one?
  "I've got family out there."
It is true that each of our dogs has been successively larger than the last.  The first one was fifteen inches tall and Jamie is 22 inches so I sort of automatically assumed that the next one would either be  a gangly lurcher or the dogs would start going down in size.  I hadn't bargained for Bernie having a love affair with a foreign giant. 
By bedtime I knew more about the Tatra Mountain Dog than any other breed, but at last there was a deep sigh from Bernie.
  "I suppose it would be a bit big... but I do love these dogs."
Praise be!  He'd realised that our little cottage really is too small and besides, Jamie already has the largest size of bed I could get in Argos.  

Now, if I hear one more word about Tatra Mountain Dog I can tell him something that will completely put him off forever.  The only place big enough for it to sleep would be in our bed! 

Comments from Triskar:
Go for it Bernie!  I've got a Labradog and a Beaucheron - who matches up to miniature shetlands really well - and they are ace together!  The only thing I'd be wary of is the amount of hair........  Our tiny cottage has all tiled floors, except every morning the floors are completely carpeted with hair!

19th March from Triskar:
 Has Bernie got his pony yet?  Of course, a baby dog will only be the size of a foal....
Pat says:
Apparently we're going to get two of them but this is dependent on us winning the lottery so I'm not holding my breath.

Comments from Jack Dog:
Bernie...forget the big dog.  You need a smaller dog with a big attitude.....get a terrier.  Jamie would love a little mate and Pat can then run another dog in the smaller class.

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