Saturday, 29 March 2014


Another interesting walk with the dogs today. I'm getting the hang of the lead jerking, especially as I'm doing it with Daisy on one side and Alice on the other - both of them want to be in front - it's a bit like driving a dog sled!

It's fascinating to now see what I hadn't been aware of before about Comet's behaviour and how he and Alice interact when they are off the lead. These videos show it really well.

The pattern is:

  • Daisy wants to be chased so starts running
  • Alice sees the movement and starts chasing her
  • Comet doesn't respond to Daisy but when he sees Alice go he chases her
  • Daisy keeps running but Comet stops Alice and they bounce around each other with Comet nipping Alice until she gives in
  • the final move is Alice stops bouncing, Comet waits a second and then walks off, over to Daisy, or to me, or just to sniff the grass, while Alice stands and waits a moment before moving off. 
Comet sees the signal that Alice has submitted but I can't see it, not yet anyway .... fascinating!!!

Started trying the "find it" with Alice. She's not sure yet, but has started to look around when I say "find it". She knows there's a treat coming but not sure what she needs to do to get it, so she tries sitting and lying down until I persuade her by doing lots of encouraging pointing and saying "find it".

Thursday, 27 March 2014


This is the start of my diary recording progress on getting control over Alice's behaviour when she sees other dogs when she's on the lead. Today is our first day!

I decided to take all the dogs to Scours Lane so that I could work on what I need to do when they are off the lead, rather than walk Alice on her own round the streets. I made myself focus on Alice much more and tried to spot the signs as to what she was about to do.

I let Daisy and Comet off their leads and Alice started to pull to go too. So I did the rapid jerking of the lead and every time she stopped pulling. There was the usual chasing directly I let her off the lead. She chased both dogs for a minute or two then they all came back to me. I rustled the paper in my pocket and made Alice wait a few seconds, paying attention to me, before I gave her a treat. I did this every time she came back to me. Her attention lapsed a little bit but on the whole she kept looking to me while she waited for the treat... which was more than Comet did! So generally some useful practice and positive responses from Alice.

Off the lead chasing was interesting. I didn't intervene and just watched them to try and see if I could work out what was happening. After having spent the time with Jim I'm much more aware now of what to look for and it was fascinating. I felt I got a much better insight into the relationship between Alice and Daisy, and especially between Alice and Comet.

Daisy likes to be chased and will goad Alice to chase her. She can't outrun Alice so she snaps at her if she gets too close and bumps her. There's no sign of aggression, it's just Alice pushing her luck and Daisy letting her know she's going too far. Alice keeps chasing regardless and Daisy keeps snapping, but I can see that this is how their relationship is. I used to think that I should step in and stop Alice because Daisy was getting upset but today I could see, for the first time, that this is very much the game they play: Daisy lets her go quite far and Alice knows this and keeps pushing it, and Daisy keeps snapping at her... it's the game and the roles they play.

What was also interesting was to watch what Comet did and how Alice reacted. Every time Alice started chasing Daisy Comet stopped what he was doing and started chasing both of them. He would bump Alice and grab her coat, snap at her neck or leg and Daisy would peel off and came over to me while Comet jumped at Alice putting her in her place. He kept doing this until Alice adopted a certain stance which to me looked like she was saying, OK, you're boss, I'll stop now. He stayed by her and even chased her until she adopted this stance. He would then trot over to me while Alice stayed where she was, not attempting to chase, then she would trot over to me. It was a fascinating insight into my little man's behaviour which I have never been aware of before. As with Daisy, I used to think I should intervene, but I could see today that they need to work out the relationship for themselves. I used to think that what I was seeing was Comet coming to Daisy's rescue but in fact it's much more about Comet asserting his authority on Alice, and I must leave them to it to work out their relationship. I really think that Comet is going to be a great help in getting Alice to respect the pecking order and that her over-the-top behaviour when she's running with my two will gradually come under control.

Here's Comet putting Alice in her place. Normally it would be Alice doing the chasing, but you can see here that Comet is taking control. Alice takes a few pops at him, but he persists and ends up taking control.... very interesting!

On the way back to the car I put Alice back on the lead and immediately we saw a dog in the distance. I saw that she had seen it and she started to move forward. I turned, bent down a bit to make eye contact and said "hey, hey" and she immediately moved back. I had to do this a few times, but there was no barking and I was able to get her attention away from the dog very easily. Admittedly the dog was some way off and didn't come past us, but I thought it was a good start.