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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sailing Adventures - Part 1

Tjido is learning to be on boats.
We actually love sailing, but since we don’t have a boat of our own Tjido hasn’t been on one since puppy-hood.
Now Joost brother has bought a pretty cool boat- a Sk├╗tsje, like they call them in Friesland. Since its quite big it’s stable. So first we got him comfortable on the boat and inside.
And now he has been twice on the boat in a “motor” trip, so no sails for now.
We are also teaching him to use his “doggy live vest”.

Training with my new live vest.

He getting slowly used to the boat, he keeps walking laps and comes to cuddle with me or Joost - I guess for a bit of reassurance. He already knows where his water bowl is and when we have to wait for a sluice to open, he relaxes with us.

On our way! 


Our last trip, we went to the north east of Amsterdam with the boat and biked back. Tjido was or in the doggie-ride or running along side of us. It was a great day!!!

Ready for our trip back on bike!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Starting this blog again!


I've left this blog for a while now, I tried to get back to it but didn't follow through. Today, I read a post about Alisa HERE, and I laughed and I felt bad I have stopped tracking my crazy dog life. So here I go!

Where are we now? Tjido is 1 year and 8 months old :)
He's been getting more 'zen' since Christmas, so it is true O_o after the first year your dog will calm down and all the f*** straining you did that first year, all the tears you cried, the stress you build up, finally gets its reward. 

Tjido has become pretty much the dog we dreamed of, even though there are some things we have to still work on. At home he's pretty much a sleeping furry thing that moves from one place to another in order to find the 'right' spot. He's a bit whiney when he wakes up, gets bored and feels that it's time to go out. But I don't react if he's being a cry baby, I do give him a new task, or dog puzzle when he's not asking for attention.
Our two issues that have to be worked on are: the barking at the doorbell and the barking when we leave (don't freak out, it's a 3 to 4min bark/whine before he falls asleep, but still).

Outside he has become wonderful! The barking is now pretty controlled, although if he has to poo, the stress levels go way high - but hey, who wouldn't...
The macho struggle for balls and sticks, is still there but now much more controlled and not so erratic. He doesn't look for fights, so that is certainly a relief. 
He will still run across a huge field to sniff at that one dog.. but he will come back for sure and his re-call is pretty good for such a hyper dog. 

This is my summary for now, but I will start posting more day-to-day stories :) 












Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tjido's Toys - A review of sorts

As promised many times I wanted to write about Tjido's toys and our experience with different ones. Hopefully you can forget that I haven't updated since june :P
Ok so here below a picture of the main toys we have (excluding the large Nina Ottoson mind games):



So I will start with the left lower corner: Ropes! They look boring but they are great! You can see here 3 different ones.  They are great to play and teach your dog tug games. Tjido also plays constantly with them on his own :)

Going upwards: Kong Braidz. Actually this was a frog... I was very disappointed in this toy. Even though I know that all toys can be destroyed easily, Tjido killed frog when he was a puppy in no time. The squeaky head was fun but it was quickly torn apart along with legs and arms. I guess it's just annoying when toys are not that cheap that they can be so crapy. Now only the middle body is left. 




Then we have the Tricky Treat Ball. This toy was amazing, even though you can see it is chewed up, that was totally our fault (we let Tjido play with it while unsupervised and he took it to his bed to destroy it after the treats were gone). This ball has one hole for the sweets but it is not that easy to get the treats out. The dog can throw it around and it is fun to play with because it is soft, with the only detail that it can be broken if left to the dog alone. 


The orange ball I got as a present, but this type of ball is easy to find. It has two holes to get treats in as well but it is certainly much more sturdy and made to chew on. My friend actually had a pit bull or staffie (don't remember which) and the ball survived his chewing!

The plushy duck! This is great fun! The head is squeaky, the body makes a quack sound and the wings have plastic - what more can you ask for? We have this toy for special occasions because if not his head would be gone. 

Antler for dogs: I believe this small piece of antler has saved our furniture. Through his teething period the ropes and the antler were the best toys for Tjido. I think that at first he didn't get it, but once he started he loved it! He's very slow actually, the piece you see in the picture has been with us since we got him. 


Nina Ottoson's Treat Maze: After the death of the tricky treat ball, and the easiness of the orange ball I decided to buy a more expensive toy - great! It really is a good mental toy. The dog has to learn to wobble it and not bite it. But it is also quite heavy and awkward to bite, so Tjido now knows that treats are the main deal. The holes are quite big enough to put whatever you want, and it has two sides to put treats in. 



I think that I will leave you now with this list. I can say that only the toys that look boring are the best to leave your dog alone with and he will love, like the ropes and antler. But other toys are also great - you just have to remember that sooner or later they will be torn to pieces. And by keeping certain toys away, you make them special :) 

Tjido foto bombed the picture when realizing all his favourite things were on the table... 


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sleepy dog = Happy dog


A sleepy dog is a happy dog!!!

I haven't updated yet again in a while... I have decided to make the next post about Tjido's toys and our experiences with different ones. So I hope you enjoy that post :)

I found out I have many pictures of Tjido sleeping haha, of course it is an easy moment to make a snap-shot, but I think it also just makes me smile to see him sleeping. Not only is he cute but I suppose it means that he's had a good time outside or inside with his toys. He also feels comfortable enough to sleep wherever and in all different positions.




And to end this post, the best picture ever, very shameless hahaha:


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Doggy Ride - A mode of transport

When you live in a country/city where the main type of transportation is the bike, you have to think differently on how to transport your dog.

As you might have seen in previous posts, when Tjido was a puppy he fitted quite well in a basket in front of the bike. But he's too big and heavy for that now!

So we decided to purchase a kart for behind our bike, and went for the dutch Doggy Ride. You can google it and read all its fabulous attributes ;) We started our training at home: without the wheels, the kart was a nice "house" for Tjido. He went in and out without a second thought, and even slept in it.

Then we went outside, on a quiet place where we could start training, but it just didn't go the right way.  Barking, stress, crying etc. Until we got fed up of our failures and decided to ask for help. Our puppy training teacher came to see us and assess the situation.We got a new training program from her and decided to take advantage of a weekend at Joost parents house who have a garden to train. We did about 2-3 training sessions per day.


We decided to keep the front flaps open this time, since I do think he's not a fan of being in closed-up spaces. And this worked like a charm! Maybe in his mind, he feels he can always step out if necessary? Or he feels more part of the group? I don't know, but it is funny how such a small detail can make a big difference. SO here's the training we did:

Step 1: Go in the kart (attached to the bike), close the back flap, wait, open and command free.

Step 2: Go in the kart, close the back flap, walk with the bike and reward with treats. Open, give command free and play a little (to relieve stress).

Step 3: Go in the kart, close the back flap, bike a few meters and reward with treats. Open, give command free and give grans reward with a game of fetch/tug (to relieve stress).

And so on..
We also made a change on the security straps. They are normally found attached to the upper side of the Doggy Ride, but Joost changed them to the ground, so Tjido can lie down and sit as well. With the original setting, he couldn't lie down if we didn't want him to jump out.



We then started training close to our home, and trying to bike to a place where he could run loose, as to make the experience much nicer. Short rides, and increasing slowly. We did have a day we went too far, but then we tried to end it in a good note with a mini-ride. We have now achieved 5 minutes of biking, with Tjido "enjoying" the ride :)

Our next goal will be to bike to the forest - 2.5 km - and then I think we can start with real trips!
It has been a good training of our patience and our strong will ;)





Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Signs of spring!

Finally a post that's not about barking! :P

As promised I'm talking today about spring! That means mainly hair!!

I don't know how spring has arrived in your country, but here, well its takings its time really :S
Finally temperature started to increase beyond the 0 degrees haha and that also means that our furry friend starts loosing his hair!



We started brushing more often with our normal brush, but it was really time to get a serious tool.. too much hair flying around the house! So our local petshop recommend us ARTERO and well it works like a charm! I was a bit scared because in a few minutes I had allot of hair!!! When does this stop? (NO really, when do you know when to stop brushing?)

My dad is coming to visit, so we also gave him a very needed shower! He looks fluffy and white now haha, but looks are deceiving ;)



The heat is also making walks a bit different, Tjido is getting quite thirsty even after a normal walk. So I think we will have to bring water with us in the coming weeks.

We are taking him in bike rides in the afternoon, hoping to build up his condition. He really loves it!!! I hope we can make nicer trips where we can bike and he can follow us loose in a park or forest. But last time we did this, he got caught up with a dog and "lost" us. We were waiting for him, but he wasn't aware of our location, silly dog.




Sunday, April 21, 2013

Free Shaping and Uncomfortable Situations

Trying to keep the post updated!

Continuing on the trend from last post.. barking. Our new approach is clicker training. Al  though we have been using clicker training since puppy-hood, we haven't really try to incorporate it in our "barking training". Also, we have used it while luring/helping Tjido into the behavior we want, ie: sitting, lying down etc.



As you know, we do training on saturdays with the animal shelter.  We had asked for help with the 'reactivity on leash' and we got 2 personalized training sessions! Yesterday was our first one :) and we learned about free shaping with clicker. The idea is to get Tjido's attention in walks, as they told us that he basically ignores us to the max outside. This is how it looked like:

Aim: Dog has to touch the tip of target stick.
1. Stand still with treats and target stick - wait for dog to look or make contact with target stick. Do not say anything!
2. Click for wanted behavior. Be patient.
3. Look for 3 repetitions.

Basically Tjido was barking, sniffing.. whatever. He did touch the stick once on the right spot, which we thought it was coincidence.. but after a whole interval again of being a teenager, he did it again and again. The trainer said he knew exactly what he was expected to do, but just couldn't care less.

Exercise 2- Aim: For dog to make eye contact.
1. Stand still, do not say anything.
2. If dog starts finding things to do, move a few steps and stop again.
3. Click for wanted behaviour.

This was of course much more difficult, but he did make eye contact after quite a while.

We have repeated this exercise at home. At home it is easy, outside with little distractions as well. But this will certainly be a looooong process... Next saturday we will do the next step I guess.

After our training we walked our typical loos-leash route through the forest, and while we sat on a bench for Tjido to drink water, a german shepherd approached us, but basically threw Tjido on the floor. He submitted automatically but when wanting to stand up, the dog went at him again. It was actually quite scary, maybe the 1st time he has really been 'attacked'.. Nothing mayor happened but it was certainly a surprise to see a loose dog like that.

Then today, after the doggy park, we saw again a german shepherd and Tjido cowered behind us. I hoped that if they could sniff each other it would be a pleasant encounter, so I didn't think anything when he approached us... oh how I was wrong. Seriously, a big coincidence, but the dog attacked Tjido as well!  The owner couldn't control his dog so he went at it another 2 times and well.. we didn't know what to do but try and stand in between.

So just to add the cherry to the cake, on our final walk, Tjido as always saw a dog and barked at it. The woman stepped out of the way, but then she shouted at us. I couldn't hear what she said because of Tjido's barking, but I understood she was warning us that if our dog would bite her it would cost a fine of 100 euros. I shouted back that our dog only barked, she responded "yeah, but he bites mine as well".  I thought she was being quite rude.

But Joost heard clearly that she was blaming us for a bite dog, and that it had cost her 100 euros... We had NEVER seen that woman or dog in our life, and Tjido has NEVER attacked a dog.

Since we were confused we walked away, but we now feel in a way guilty and annoyed. I wish we could have talked to her, but with a barking dog, she wouldn't have appreciated me coming close. I assume we will meet her again sometime, but yeah.. I feel bad that he is sometimes regarded as "aggressive" because of his barking, when actually our 2 dog attacks have been by non-barking dogs (which i know has nothing to do with aggressive or non aggressive, but there's an irony).

To end this post in a more positive note, he is starting to shed, so our next post will be all about shed & hair and no barking ;) Oh yeah! And our Icelandic Sheepdog magazine chose our picture! HERE I am looking forward to make more summery pictures of our little fluffy monster!


PS: I hope no GS owners are annoyed by this post. I really believe it was coincidence that it was the same breed twice.