MAY 2010

Life with Riley
  The Diary of a Spanish Water Dog

Sunday 2 May 2010


Riley is 6 months old today.


Saturday 8 May 2010


Although we'd bought Riley a fleecy coat in readiness for her haircut, the mild weather meant that she hadn't needed to wear it.  As it was much colder today though we decided to put it on her for her morning walk.


Initially she decided to wrestle and bite the coat; however once we started on the walk, she forgot she was wearing it and we had no further problems.   Jayne


Sunday 9 May 2010


This is definitely the time of year to be walking through cider apple orchards.  The trees were full of apple blossom and the smell was wonderful.  As usual Riley's walk included two paddles through the stream; I'm not sure whether she has grown or there is just less water, but the deeper part where she likes to wade and snorkle (muzzle in, eyes just out of the water) didn't appear as deep today.   Jayne


Thursday 13 May 2010 


Riley's "stay" is coming along very well; I can now leave a room or wander around the garden and she will stay where I have put her (most of the time anyway) until I release her. Sometimes I can even throw a toy near her and she won't move.   Mike 


Friday 14 May 2010


After driving over to Lincolnshire late last night, we went to a country pub for lunch (where Riley quietly sat under the table and eventually went to sleep), followed by a walk through the grounds at Burghley House.


Negotiating across the grass proved to be tricky though, as deer had been recently grazing the area, and trying to keep Riley from "snacking" was almost impossible.  Just before we left, we took her to an enclosure where a herd of small deer were grazing; when some of them wandered over to look at us, Riley (for the first time ever) growled at something.  Her tail was wagging though, so we think she was just nervous as she couldn't work out what they were.  Mike


Sunday 16 May 2010


Mike was away today, and so I took Riley to the National Trust's Croome Park again.  Plenty of people and dogs around to help with continuing her socialisation; particularly as we have noticed her become a little more reserved with strangers recently.  As usual, she received lots of attention, with people asking what breed she was.  We often get people trying to guess what she is; most common guesses seems to be Bedlington or Labradoodle.  We did have one woman recently who stated that Riley obviously "had a bit of poodle in her".


She was very well behaved ... up until the point when she decided to go swimming in the lake, despite signs clearly stating "no swimming".  There was plenty of weed in there, which the geese were happily feeding on.  I think some of the weed may have caught around her leg and scared her, because she suddenly came charging back out of water as if she was being chased by something invisible.  She then spent a couple of minutes charging back and forth around me, growling playfully.  Usually if I stamp my feet, this sets her off again.  When she does this, I usually follow it by making her do a series of sits, downs, stays etc (which she did perfectly, despite a small audience) to get her focused again.   Jayne


Monday 17 May 2010


We spent the day on Albie the yacht today starting a late spring clean.  Riley particuarly enjoyed hosing down the outside, and spent most of her time getting in the way of the hosepipe and getting soaked.


Just before the cleaning took place we took Riley for a trip around the bay (the 500 acres of water contained within the Cardiff barrage).   As usual, after watching the passing yachts and scenery she settled down and went to sleep in the cockpit.   Jayne


Saturday 22 May 2010


As the temperature was due to be hot and sunny this weekend, I had bought a paddling pool for Riley; unsurprisingly she loved splashing around in it.  She particularly loved retrieving tennis balls by pushing her muzzle down into the water to grasp the ball and coming back up with the ball in her mouth.  She would then drop the ball back in and repeat the exercise, or push the ball around the pool with her paws.   Jayne 


 Friday 28 May 2010


Down to Albie again, but this time staying overnight with Riley for the first time.  She had  a beanbag and her favourite rug in the footwell of our aft cabin, and surprisingly, when we turned the lights out she settled down straight away and went to sleep, not waking up until 7.30 am.  This was the first time that she had not slept in a cage since we had got her, so I had been fully expecting her to pounce on us once the lights went out.   Jayne


Saturday 29 May 2010


Raining this morning, so Jayne let me take Riley out for a quick run.  Riley became a little restless when we took it in turns to use the shower block and the rain meant that she was down below, but once it had stopped, she was happy just sat out in the cockpit watching the people, ducks, swans and boats passing by.


We then met up with some of Jayne's family (including an uncle over from Australia) for coffee and cakes at Mermaid Quay.  There was an event on, and Riley was fascinated with a puppet stall where a man was carrying what looked like a small bear, which was making some very realistic movements.  Several people stopped to watch Riley watching the bear.


We then had to drive back to Ross-on-Wye where Riley had the first of her lessons with Di Williamson; she is now working towards the Good Citizen Bronze Award.  We thought that private lessons would be more beneficial to Riley, given that she is easily distracted and wants to play with other puppies.


After a coffee and Di explaining the syllabus for the Bronze Award, we started training.  The first test is walking on the lead.  Although generally good at walking on the lead, when she is excited (often at the start of a walk) she can pull or bite the lead.  Di therefore showed us how to deal with that.  She also noticed that Riley tends to "pace" which means moving both legs on the same side forwards together, rather than moving diagonally opposite legs forwards together. This means that different muscles are being used, and should we want to show her, it would count against her. To overcome it, all we need to do is slightly alter the speed at which we walk.  We also worked on Riley's "stay", which needs to be at least 1 minute for the Bronze Award.   Mike


Sunday 30 May 2010


Today we headed over to the Cotswolds, as Jayne needed to go to Stow on the Wold.  This was followed by a trip to Bourton on the Water for Riley to paddle alongside all the other dogs, children and ducks.  The place was packed with tourists, but Riley didn't appear to be bothered by the crowds, and it was good training for her, both in terms of socialisation and walking on the lead.   Mike


Monday 31 May 2010


As part of Riley's ongoing training, and to find out whether she enjoyed showing, we took her to a Companion Dog Show at Pershore.  We had already been advised that Ringcraft would be useful, as it gets SWDs used to being handled by strangers.  Riley seemed happy with the whole experience, from interacting with other dogs, being handled by the judge, and receiving attention from other people.  We were pleased when she got fifth place in the Any Variety Puppy class, with a rosette (her first) and a bag of goodies.  I wasn't expecting Riley to win anything, particularly as the judge had walked over to Mike at the start to ask what breed of dog she was.   Jayne       







To April 2010

To June 2010