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 take 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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Ultimate snow day

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We’re still waitin’ on snow here in Lincolnshire, and as I’m feeling festive I’ve been looking back at photos from our ultimate snow day! It was back in March last year, and I was visiting home when the snow came. These photos were taken in my dad’s garden with his black Lab Oscar :) It was probably the deepest snow I’ve seen, so we couldn’t stay out in it too long, especially with the dog, but it was still long enough!

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We made the cover!

Image courtesy of Manchester & Cheshire Dogs Home

Image courtesy of Manchester & Cheshire Dogs Home

I’m thrilled to shout out the words ‘we made the cover!’, like some sort of celebrity hitting the tabloids! But this is much more important; Max has been chosen as one of the many dogs to feature on the Christmas cards by Manchester & Cheshire Dogs Home!

They recently opened a competition via their Facebook page, asking for Christmassy dog photos. I entered both Jess & Max (Jess being a MDH dog), and although Jess isn’t starring on the cards, Max will of course be representing them both :) Can you spot him? Fourth row down, fourth across! These are the photos I entered…

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There are four card designs, and the cards along with a stunning calendar can be purchased through their website :)

Sam by Neil Cameron Photography

dog photography

During our recent dog show weekend, Sam & I met local photographer, Neil Cameron. We had a chat and he was kind enough to take Sams photo. The end result is just lovely, a pleasant surprise; as I recall Sam wasn’t posing very well! But who could blame him, so many people asked to take his photo that day! No wonder he won most handsome dog ;)

We also got to meet little Murphy, the subject of many photos. This is one of my favourites, ‘Murphy On The Beach’.

To see more of Neil’s work see his website :)