Watching dog behaviour, when you don’t have a dog

One of my fave dog walking spots

One of my fave dog walking spots

So our new house is a ten minute walk away from a beautiful country park, with lakes, woodland, open spaces…pure dog walking perfection! (Part of me is seriously considering taking on new clients, I just feel so at home there and I’d love for a couple of dogs to benefit from it too, but we still don’t know how long we’re staying here for). Usually when I’m in that kind of environment, I’m with a dog, so my focus is on him as well as the dogs around me. Now I’m without a dog, I find myself just watching them.

Now I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve taken a break from dogs that my ‘behaviour brain’ is taking over, but I’ve started to learn again. I ‘attended’ my second webinar by Sarah Whitehead recently, and have spotted a good illustrated body language book too. Sometimes I think not having a dog makes certain theories in dog behaviour clearer, as individuals can be so complex, your judgement becomes clouded when you keep referring to a particular dog in your mind. I’ve been thinking about how anthropomorphic we are with dogs too, and trying to understand why a dog would do such a thing rather than putting my own emotions upon them. In fact it has seemed a little easier, maybe because I don’t know them? Previously when I’d┬átake on a new dog walking client for example, I’d be watching them, figuring out how they work. So why not try and read dogs in the park? How does he greet strangers? What do his vocalisations suggest? Is he nervous? What is his tail positioning? What commands do they have in place? Any signs of aggression? What are his play patterns? I’d really recommend it, especially switching off from your own dog, as there’s such a miscellany of behaviours you might see one that your dog doesn’t express very often, or even something that your dog does all the time, you just don’t notice it anymore. I’m sure you’d be surprised and inspired in some way.

Our new Country Park

Our new Country Park

Last week I watched a pair of inseparable Labradors in utter bliss in the water, and a couple of dainty little whippets hopped past too. Some things I’ve watched frustrate me, I’ve witnessed alot of people giving their dogs a ‘yank’ to correct them or allowing them to run to the end of their flexi lead and almost choke themselves *sigh*. But the majority has been nice, and our dog owning day will come…We have however, got a new family member, who I will introduce you all to soon! You can tell by the title of this post that he isn’t a dog, but he is asleep on my desk right now…

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Human why do you love to bathe so much?

House re-wire in progress!

House re-wire in progress!

So, whilst I’m staying here my mum is having her house re-wired/plastered (great timing I know!). As I write this, the light fitting in the bathroom is unfinished, meaning we have to bathe with the door open (so we can see in the dark) and a lamp.

Of course all the animals popped in and out during my bath last night, because the door was open, but Jess’ reaction was so hilarious/intriguing! Her expression was like ‘human, why are you lying in the giant scary box thing which terrifies me?!’ Perhaps I was naive in thinking ‘oh if I look like I’m enjoying myself, she might change her mind about baths…’ She did her usual sweet little head tilts at me, which are irresistible may I add! But also everything that has been there for years; the bath mat, shower curtain, toiletries, all suddenly became so fascinating! Her nose was working overtime! She was also licking everything and trying to strain her neck to reach the soapy bath water.

Then I spotted the starfish on the side, so I showed it to her, and she backed away! She was not a fan of her spiky new friend! She was intrigued though, kept creeping back in for a sniff, then jumping away. I couldn’t smell a thing on it, but I don’t have 200 million scent receptors! So I left it on the side and she suddenly became brave now that it was out of my hands, and was all over it!

Afterwards she claimed it as her own, until she tried eating it so I had to take it away… Here she is with her new five legged friend :)

Friends!

Friends!