Life with Riley
  The Diary of a Spanish Water Dog

Monday 1 February 2010


Riley is 13 weeks old today.


Saturday 6 February 2010


Today is Riley's third puppy training class.  We are up early and off down to Lydney by 8.00 am for the 9.45 am class.  This gives us time for Riley to have a short walk alongside the River Severn.  It was fast flowing today, and I wish I had had my camera with me, as there was a very large branch floating through the water,  with several birds perched on it hitching a lift.


Today we were learning walking to heel, sit to greet and leave.  Riley is easily distracted, and would prefer to lie on her back and go to sleep or try and chew her lead rather than stun everyone with her obedience skills.  Di wondered whether Riley's lack of focus on us is due to her getting her own way at home.  As we are new to puppy training and SWD's, I have no doubt that that is the cause; unfortunately Riley's manipulation of us is so subtle that we are barely aware of it.  We are now relying on each other to point out when and how we are being manipulated by her.


We must add her good points here, as she might otherwise seem like a terror.  She is confident (perhaps the root of the problem), loveable and friendly.  She happily goes into her cage at 10.30 at night, coming back out at 6.00 am the next morning; and going back in for an hour or so on weekends.  She is made to sit before coming back into the house, and will happily play with her own toys in the kitchen when we are in the sitting room.  She is prevented from going into the hall by a dog gate, which also makes sure that she cannot try to go upstairs as she gets older.  She is allowed into the sitting room with us in the evening, but she has to sit in her new and very large dog basket.   If she climbs out, then we just say "in your basket" and she climbs back in again. 


So this week we need to work hard on getting her to focus on us more; I have no doubt that Riley can do what we ask of her, she just has to put up with two owners that need more training too ...   Jayne


Sunday 7 February 2010


Riley has mad moments, when she charges around the garden; that now seems to have developed into her growling as she does so, and then jumping at the back of your legs and occasionally nipping my calfs.  Today, I yelped very loudly when she did it, and ignored her.  I'm not sure what the neighbours thought, but it does seem to have worked in stopping this behaviour for now.   Jayne 


Monday 8 February 2010


Riley is 14 weeks old today.


Tuesday 9 February 2010


Mike has had to go to Paris for a meeting today, so I have taken a day off from work to look after Riley.  We have also swopped cars, as I have a convertible and the cage won't fit in there.  We drove over to the Landrover dealer at Hereford to look at Defenders.  When Mike goes to Brazil at the beginning of March, I shall need something more practical to transport the Mud Magnet around in.  Still want to keep my convertible though ...


We have been working on our training and she is starting to respond to leave (unless it is the tea-towel that fell on the floor or her lead, which she has started to chew every time we put it on).  The continual lead chewing is something new since we have started to teach her heel and is hampering any attempt to practice this at the moment.  Her lead has now been sprayed with a non-toxic bitter spray, so we will see whether that helps.


I have loved having a day off with her though.   Jayne


Friday 12 February 2010


Riley went to the vets to be weighed for her next dose of worming tablets.  She was 7.5 kg.  As always, the two tablets hidden in cheese were happily eaten by Riley.    Mike 


Saturday 13 February 2010


Today was Riley's fourth puppy training class.  Unfortunately, Riley has turned into a social butterfly.  She was more interested in the other puppies than doing anything that we asked her to.  She is not usually this distracted, either at home or at classes.  I think that we shall stop off on the way to class next week, and let her have a run to tire her out a little.


Once classes were over, we left Lydney and drove down to Weston-super-Mare to let Riley have her first experience of a beach.  She walked fairly well on the lead to heel; came back when we called her on the beach (despite a crow-like bird continually landing in front of her at one stage, which eventually caused her to chase it for a very short distance until we tested her recall skills and she came back).  We bought her a new football on the way down, which she loved chasing around the beach.


We then drove to my brother's house, so that Riley could meet all their cats, dogs, ducks and chickens.  This time she was closer in size to Ruby the Tibetan Terrier, and they were able to play together.  Ruby was a little boisterous with her at times; next time they meet though, Riley is likely to be bigger than her.   Jayne


Sunday 14 February 2010


We took Riley for a walk through the fields and cider apple orchards near to the house.  Mike has been taking her through a stream in their lunch-time walks; and today we walked along the stream a short way, which allowed me to get some good photos of her.  Although I am sure it was a little cold, she happily criss-crossed the stream with us.  Again, she walked well, came back when we called her, and sat at each stile waiting to be let through.  If only she would do this at puppy classes.  Jayne


Monday 15 February 2010


Riley is 15 weeks old today.


Tuesday 16 February 2010


Riley's walking to heel is coming along slowly.  Unfortunately, when we decided to take her for a walk this evening, Oscar the cat decided to come too.  Oscar kept lingering behind, followed by charging in front, diving into gardens and jumping back out as we walked past.  Naturally, Riley wasn't concentrating on walking to heel.  Oscar will be staying in the house when we go out from now on; at least until Riley is older and less distracted.   Jayne


Wednesday 17 February 2010


The Thornit has worked a treat on Riley's ears.  This simple compound was put together by Mr W. Watchman in 1907, and is still a popular treatment for dogs.  We are now going to use it once a week to keep her ears free from infection.


Although we bought it from an internet supplier, it can be bought more cheaply direct from the main supplier. They currently charge £20.50 for 100gms (which should keep us going for years).  Their details are: Thornit, Hall Stables, Thornham, Hunstanton, Norfolk, PE36 6NB  (Tel: 01485 512 210).    Mike


Friday 19 February 2010


It has snowed again, and neither of us managed to get our cars home last night.  Today I hiked to the train station carrying my suit, and Mike and Riley walked to the office.  I arrived back in Malvern as they were heading back, and met up for the walk home.  As we were approaching a pub, there were two men stood outside smoking.  One of the men was stocky with a shaved head, and was swearing at the other as we approached; as we passed them by it went silent, and then I heard him say "awww, it's so cute, like a little teddy bear".  Not what I was expecting, and very funny.  Jayne


Saturday 20 February 2010


Riley's fifth puppy training class.  Today we practiced leave and play, using a toy as a reward, and revising what we had previuosly learnt.  Riley is more motivated by toys than food, and so we have started carrying one on walks.  She is also already responding well to leave.


After class was over, we drove down to Cardiff to check on Albie the yacht.  On the way, we stopped in the Forest of Dean to give Riley a walk; great scenery and a chance to get more photos of Riley.


The last time we were down on Albie, Riley had had to be carried.  This time she was on the lead.  She walked well along the pontoons (even the finger pontoons, which tend to be bouncier), she wasn't too worried when we met a man pushing a trolley along the pontoon (which always make a racket), and took two swans and a gang of ducks at the back of the yacht in her stride.  We clipped her on in the cockpit, so that she could move around but not get into any trouble (falling overboard or down into the main cabin), and she was happy enough.


We then drove to Mermaid Quay for a coffee, and a chance for Riley to see loads of toddlers, pushchairs, bicycles etc.  She was fairly content to do a spot of people-watching when we sat outside and drank coffee.  Unfortunately the welsh cake shop had stopped selling fresh off the griddle welsh cakes!   Mike


Sunday 21 February 2010


Although there is still plenty of snow on the ground, it is very muddy underneath, and Riley is soon covered in mud.  We should have got one that didn't show the dirt!  I didn't think that Riley would want to walk through the stream, but she was down the bank and across the stream straight away.  I followed carefully, as the bank was muddy, and Mike stayed on the other side.  Riley was clearly concerned that we had split up, and ran backwards and forwards through the stream and up the banks.  Another chance to take some great photos of her.  Jayne


Monday 22 February 2010


Riley is 16 weeks old today.


Saturday 27 February 2010


We are in Lincolnshire this weekend, and so another opportunity for Riley to explore the beautiful Bourne Woods.  As she tried to jump over one of the drainage ditches that border either side of some of the pathways, she misjudged it and fell in.  She just stood there for a short while, trying to figure out what to do, with her back legs in the water and her front legs on the bank; but before I could rescue her, she had found a way out.  We had to laugh at her; she looked pretty bedraggled.  Jayne




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