Sunday, 11 November 2012

Book Review

Slight deviation from normal business! I read this book recently to try to help train Nico. I then reviewed it on my book review blog and thought it relevant to this blog as well. I think it would be an understatement to say that I was far from impressed and generally felt uneasy by the end of it.

available to read here

Friday, 2 November 2012

Walkies! Or...not.

If Nico were a small human child, he would be the one running around naked and screaming to avoid going in the bath, which you subsequently can’t get back out of the bath fifteen minutes later. Of that, I have no doubts. Baths <i>are</i> interesting with Nico and I will touch upon that in another blog but the point of this blog is something that should really be a lot simpler. Walking. I guess I took it for granted that the minute Nico was allowed outside he would automatically know how to walk and off we would go. Um, no. The first time that Nico and I ventured outside into the scary world with leash on and paws ready he….sat on the ground and looked at me. There was no bounding off into the large garden that we’re privileged to have, no tail wagging, and certainly no tugging to get going. No, Nico just sat.

I took him onto the grass and he had a sniff but still had no great urge to wander. It put it down to his age and figured he would get better as he grew up. Well, he is fifteen weeks now and still isn’t huge on walking. Lhasas are not water dogs and Nico is no exception to that particular rule. The site of a raindrop has him trying desperately to get home. He has a lovely coat and doesn’t want it getting out of shape, thank you very much~ Suddenly the name Nico seems to fit him so well, as many F1 addicts will I’m sure agree. (With a chuckle of course) Now, well this is where the bath references start to come into play. It is hard to get Nico going. Lhasas are not big walkers anyway but still, I think it is good for him to get a couple of little walks in a day. He has others ideas and would rather potter around the garden with an empty yogurt pot hanging out his mouth.

Often he just sits and whines and refuses to move. So I stand patiently, don’t look at him, don’t talk to him and so he trots along for a whole three steps and then he stops and he whines and he refuses to move and rinse and repeat. He just doesn’t get it. It can take us fifteen minutes to talk the length of my street some days.  However, when I do get him going he sure goes. He’s either a lazy sod or a champ when it comes to walking.  When he is willing he trots along nicely, investigating leaves (which move in the wind omg his little mind was blown!) and getting to know the neighbours.  Being the type of dog that he is, his legs are really too short for his body so he more runs than walks even though I dawdle myself to let him keep up. His breeding shows when he is wary of strangers and other dogs but willing to say hello once he is sure.  He really is brilliant when he’s happily walking. He loves the canal when I can get him there and walking right smack through the middle of the deepest muddiest puddles he can find.  (Isn’t so fond of the brushing required afterwards but it is good to learn!)  I think it shows that if I can win this battle of wills over who is leading the walks and deciding where we are going and how long for that we are going to have a great time out and about together XD

Another strange trick to get Nico to walk though is to take...the cat. For some reason, Nico is quite happy to follow Morgan around the block and up and down the street. He doesn't chase her but just toddles along quite happily beside her. I have photographic proof. It makes me look like some sort of Doctor Doolittle. They both seem happy enough with the arrangement but I never thought I'd be wondering if the cat wanted to come a walk to get the dog going that is for sure!

Though, on the note of dogs and strangers. Lhasa Apsos are weary of strangers because their original purpose was to be guard dogs for Tibetan Monks. I’m really quite sick of people touching Nico without him consenting. And yes, he can consent. His body language makes it obvious about whether he wants to be touched or not. If he is moving towards you with his tail wagging than he’s ok to be touched. If he’s stood at my feet watching you silently, he is still sizing you up. Leave him alone!  A small boy was walking by and very suddenly reached out and patted Nico on the head today. My wee man jumped and startled before running between my legs. The mother waved it off and said ‘I knew he would do that’. Well, do something about that. If Nico had reacted by biting the boy I doubt it would have caused her the same giggle she had today. Nico only has baby teeth so I doubt he could do much damage at the moment but he will get bigger. If the dog feels threatened, it won’t be my fault if he defends himself. It is another matter if he’s pulling on the leash and snarling but the situation today? The blame would be with the child and ultimately the mother who hasn’t taught the child any better. I would never have been allowed to reach out and touch a dog without permission when I was young. That probably has something to do with why I’ve never been bitten hmm?

Sam and Nico