Life with Riley
  The Diary of a Spanish Water Dog

Friday  1 January 2010


Mike was up early to play in a golf competition this morning, and so was I to take Riley out in the garden.  She then happily played in the kitchen whilst I had a leisurely hot bath.  In the afternoon we took her out in the rucksack for a walk.  We met our neighbours and their family who were visiting, and also two women walking five friendly Springer Spaniels.   Jayne



Saturday 2 January 2010


My brother and family came to visit, together with their 9 month old Tibetan Terrier called Ruby.  The vet was happy for Ruby to come to the house, as she had been vaccinated, and the risk was essentially no different from a puppy being brought into a home with existing vaccinated dogs; plus the benefit to Riley far outweighed the minor risk.


Riley is not afraid of strangers.  Within minutes of them arriving, she was enjoying the attention, and although Ruby was only allowed to play with Riley whilst on a lead, as she is a little boisterous, Riley was soon chasing her around.


After lunch, we all went out for a walk (with Riley in her rucksack).  Riley went nose to nose with a horse, and was completely unafraid.  After playing with my nieces and Ruby in the garden earlier though, she fell asleep in the rucksack for most of the walk.   Jayne



Sunday 3 January 2010


Today we took Riley out in the car for a drive.  As soon as she was put in the car, she settled down and went to sleep.  We stopped off at British Camp in the Malvern Hills for a hot drink at the kiosk there, together with lots of walkers and a few dogs.  Riley was quite happy to sit in her rucksack, watching people coming and going, and accepting any attention from strangers.   Jayne



Monday 4 January 2010


Riley is 9 weeks old today.


I was able to work at home for most of the day, but had to go out for a couple of hours.  We have a puppy pen for these occasions, and although not 100% keen on being left in it, we are feeding her in there, so that she is regularly in and out of her own free will, if only to attack the vet bed.


Although I suspect that she had played up a little initially, as she was whining when I left and had spilt most of her water by the time I returned, she was also dozing, clean and quiet.   Mike



Tuesday 5 January 2010




Lots of it and she loves it.  Running and jumping, slipping and sliding all around the garden.   Mike



Thursday 7 January 2010


As she is sleeping so well in her cage, last night we decided to push the limits and get up to take her out at 5.00 am in the morning instead of 3.30 am.  It worked well; she still had to be woken up and was perfectly clean.   Mike



Friday 8 January 2010


This afternoon I took her to my office to meet some more new people.  All of them loved her and she was full of confidence with them.  Also in the office was Scamp, a 6 year old Labrador ... fun and games in the snow again!  Most of the play was lead by Riley, but if things got a bit too boisterous, she would retreat behind my legs, or under a trailer which was too low for Scamp!


After introducing herself to everybody, we shut ourselves into one of the workshops, and she was able to amuse herself exploring, whilst I got on with some work.  Eventually she found herself some "bubble-wrap", dragged it over to where  I was working and went to sleep on it.   Mike



Saturday 9 January 2010


We are now taking it in turns to get up at 5.00 am to let Riley out.  After a busy week in which I had been forced to hike to the railway station every morning because my car was stuck in the snow, I looked forward to my morning off.  After letting her out for run from a clean (again) cage, she immediately did what she had to (she is now going outside most of the time), and after allowing a little time to settle back down whilst Mike read a book in the kitchen with her, she was put back into her cage and Mike came back to bed.  Although we initially heard some whining, she soon settled down and went to sleep.  So did we, and didn't wake up again until 8.30 am, when we immediately went downstairs to let Riley out.  Again, her cage was clean.


Later on in the morning, we took Riley into Malvern in her rucksack to meet a few more people.  After some shopping, we stopped for a coffee.  Riley enjoyed some attention from the owners of the coffee shop and customers, and then fell asleep in her rucksack.  On the way home, we stopped in the pet shop and fitted her for a new collar (she has nearly grown out of the other one) and a Puppy Kong toy.  Sidney is still her favourite though.   Jayne


Monday 11 January 2010


Riley is 10 weeks old today.


Wednesday 13 January 2010


Another 5 inches of fresh snow overnight led to more games during the early morning run.  Her new favourite moves are to bury her head in any particuarly deep patch, or to jump off the low wall separating the two levels of garden, into the deep snow.


The afternoon was time for another visit to the vet, but with so much snow still on the roads, I had to carry her in her puppy carrier.  It's probably for the last time, as she is almost too big for it already.


She was given another quick check-up (no problems), had her second injection, and had her microchip installed.  Apparently the big microchip needle sometimes causes a little distress, but Riley wasn't worried; she was far to busy eating the treats that the vet had given her.


The second injection means that it is now just another 10 days before we can take her out for proper walks.   Mike


Thursday 14 January 2010


Riley is now happily settling down in her cage at 11.00 pm each night.  We let her become sleepy on her blanket in the kitchen first, just after her final run in the garden.  She is equally happy to go back into her cage after her 5.00 am run.   Jayne


Friday 15 January 2010


Oscar the cat decided to play with Riley's ball in the kitchen.  It is the size of a tennis ball, but heavier, and has had all the fluffy coating ripped off it by Riley.  As he was charging around the kitchen chasing the ball, Riley started prancing around, hoping that Oscar would let her join in, but making no attempt to take the ball from Oscar.  Oscar is clearly in charge, and Riley knows it.


Mike has been training Riley.  She already sits on command, and her fetch is coming along nicely.  Now she has started to lie down on command (most of the time).  No doubt she will pretend that she knows none of this when we go to puppy classes.   Jayne


Saturday 16 January 2010


As it rained in the night and most of the snow had gone, we decided to head down to Cardiff to check on our yacht Albatross ("Albie").  As Riley's 10 days are not up, we carried her from the car-park down to Albie, and then placed a puppy pad in the cockpit; which she eventually had a wee on.  Although we also put one down in the cabin, we need to work on that aspect of sail training, as she completely ignored it and went in the heads and on the cabin floor.  It should be easier next time we are down, as we will be able to take her for walks.


She happily walked on her lead around the sides of the yacht, and although her tail wagged when she saw some ducks swim up to Albie hoping for some food, she soon lost interest in them.  Hopefully next time she will get to see some swans, as there are usually some milling around the back of the yacht.  Although she showed no sign of wanting to jump overboard into the water, she was kept on her lead, and we will be getting her a lifejacket once she is nearly fully grown.


For Riley, the best part of the day was chewing on a new supply of deck shoes and sailing wellingtons.  And I suspect when we take her out sailing, she will be on the other end of all the ropes.   Jayne


Monday 18 January 2010


Riley is 11 weeks old today.


Thursday 21 January 2010


A new toy! This morning, Riley discovered the pile of brussel sprout plants I pulled up at the weekend, the leaves and stalks are great for chewing!   Mike


Saturday 23 January 2010


The first day Riley is allowed out after her injections, and her first training class of six.  Jayne is in London on a course today, so it's just the two of us.


We arrived at the training classes in good time, and after a quick walk around the car park and a wee, we entered the classroom with seven other puppies, all but one older and larger than Riley.


She was a little daunted at first, but within a minute was making friends with the Terrier we had sat near, also 11 weeks old.


We went through the principles and basics of clicker training, followed by sit, lay down (both of which Riley is fairly competent at already) and 'watch'.  Watch is a good way of distracting the dog to stop barking, or just to get it's attention, taught by holding a tasty treat near her nose, then moving it up to your eye, so that she looks you in the eye, initially clicking and treating as soon as she makes eye contact. By next week, we aim to have Riley and her classmates doing a 5 second watch, no problem. 


The lesson sped by, and after a short play with another 2 year old SWD who was attending the following lesson, we were on our way home. We stopped on Castlemorton Common for a walk - the first real walk for Riley, but restricted to 15 minutes, respecting the 5 minutes per month of age rule.   Mike


Sunday 24 January 2010


I got home late last night, so today is my first chance to take Riley for a walk.  We decided to take her into the Malvern Hills, with obligatory stop at the kiosk at British Camp for a bacon sarnie and tea.  Riley walked fairly well on the lead, although she does have a habit of stopping every now and then to check behind her that all is well.  I don't know whether this is a natural SWD trait?


Riley got to meet the Galloway cattle and Cheviot ewes that have been introduced to graze the Malvern Hills ... although she didn't really notice them until a cow coughed near her.  Her tail was wagging, but although initially fascinated by them, she soon lost interest when she found a twig to add to her collection.   Jayne


Monday 25 January 2010


Riley is 12 weeks old today.


Wednesday 27 January 2010


I took the train to the office today, and Mike and Riley met me in the evening.  As it was the first time that Riley had seen a train, Mike arrived early so that she could watch it arrive.  After briefly getting excited when she realised I was there, her attention switched to watching the train leave again.  As usual with Riley, she seemed to take it all in her stride, and neither the train or the people getting on or off seemed to worry her.  I'm going by rail for the rest of the week, so Riley will get some more opportunities to watch trains.   Jayne


Saturday 30 January 2010


It is puppy training classes number 2 today, and my first time there.  I was up at 5.30 to let Riley out of her cage for a run.  When I noticed that she seemed to have difficulty going, I knew immediately what it was.  We have been following Jax the SWD puppy's blog, and he had had the same problem.  A quick inspection showed that Riley's rear wasn't too clean, and that was stopping her going.  After sorting her out, she disappeared off into the garden ...


Puppy class went well, although Riley (and us) need to practice the extended (30 second) down and sit.  I was pleased that Riley did her recall really well.  Unfortunately I get over excited and whilst trying to hold the clicker and a treat and do what I'm supposed to, I accidentally depress the clicker.  Some more training should sort me out.


Riley was placed on a table and we were shown how to get her to accept being checked over.  This consisted of checking eyes, teeth, nails, sniffing ears and holding her tail at its base to inspect her rear.  As each body part was inspected, I clicked and treated.  This is so that she will accept being handled by vets, judges etc.  Di thought that there was a faint smell of yeast in one of Riley's ears, and has recommended getting Thornit.  We tried to find this in pet shops but have had to order it from the internet.  Apparently with a SWD it is also worth treating the ears after swimming, as it makes sure that they become dry and not a warm wet breeding ground for ear mites.  We have been pulling the hair out of Riley's ears; it is my evening job, but I may need to up the amount of hair I pull out every evening.


After training we left Lydney and drove over to Lincolnshire to visit Mike's father.  This was the first time that Riley had met 'Grandad'.  As we were invited for dinner with  Mike's cousin and family, this was an opportunity for Riley to meet their dog Jack (the Jack Russell).  Jack ignored her for most of the evening, despite Riley's attempts to get him to chase her.  Near the end of the evening, Jack suddenly decided to play, at which point Riley changed her mind and hid by Mike.


Although this will have been the first time that Riley has stayed in a different house, we had no problems with her settling down in her crate at night.  Even in the morning, when she went out for a run at around 5.30, she happily settled back down in it again, allowing us to have a lie in.   Jayne


Sunday 31 January 2010


We took Riley for a walk in the local woodland.  There was a fair amount of shooting going on nearby, but although Riley would stop and listen when a gun went off, it didn't appear to worry her at all.  We met and chatted to a couple of other dog owners, none of which had seen a SWD before; which gave Riley the chance to meet some more dogs, including two large Rottweilers and a Chihuahua.  Strangely Riley was more hesitant with the friendly Chihuahua than she was with the Rottweilers.




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