Our first real walk

I’ve been watching Cesar Millan’s show for quite a long time, but never fully “got” how it worked until I watched the last few episodes where he explained how to find the _actual_ instigator of trouble – the one with the over excited energy, usually – and correct them first (and usually if you correct them the other members of your pack don’t need to be)
Well, I’ve always thought it was Odin, or even Gina – but I’ve been observing them all for the last few days when I walk them, trying to figure it out… and it’s Azzie (I had an idea, but I never really _saw_)
I finally saw it! I corrected her – basically ignored the other two… and wow. She back talked me, as she does, but I was calm, in charge, corrected her again more firmly… and bamm. Sorted. We saw the two little Daschunds that caused her (and then of course Odin) to go completely berserk before… and we walked by them, even with them (the weiners) prancing around at the end of their leads, trying to get their owners’ attention.
I have also discovered the correct _pace_ to walk at, and that they sniff when i say so, and I am in control now.
Long story short – I FINALLY HAD A PROPER WALK! A REAL pack walk. I feel… amazing… it’s like exercise endorphin… i’m HAPPY, elated… but I feel… powerful. It was so COOL! I walked, they walked next to me (or behind me, as Gina does) and there was NO tangling leads or twisting around me or standing in front of me etc… we just… WALKED!
I did “picture it” first, before I even put their leads on… and it works. It really works.
*beam*
Of course we will still have our bad days, nothing is an instant fix and it’s a mental state I have to keep all the time, but if I can just remember this feeling, and go back to that state of mind… things are going to get so much better for my whole pack. πŸ™‚

 

This morning’s long walk was a little more trying, but I did see traces of _something_ happening… but we were not quite there yet – Odin fought with me to stay next to me (he wanted to go ahead all the time) and Azzie kept barging over as well. I almost lost my cool, but stopped and took a breath and we carried on.

We had a lovely swim session in the secret pond as well – happy dogs πŸ™‚

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A gorgeous morning walk and a little Odin update

A gorgeous morning – still cool enough that the dogs could enjoy themselves, but the sun was out and it warmed up slowly. By the time we got back to the car, it was starting to get quite warm, so we were just in time.

We discovered a NEW section of the Bahrenbach Pfad! (The Bear River Path) and took a wander down that to explore, but didn’t get too far as Odin started to whine a little bit as his leg started to get sore.
Dogs were _awesome_ on the walk! So well behaved. Odin met the horses for the first time, in the paddock near the parking area and he was scared at first, but then when he saw Gina being peaceful and calm and relaxed with them (sniffing noses and being nuzzled softly) he came close enough to sniff and be sniffed and it was awesome. Azzie did well too – she does get SO excited though and wants to play… luckily these are two elderly boys (the horses) and so they weren’t easily spooked by her play bows and huffs. But they all did well and I was very pleased. They also all three waited beautifully while a lady with a very feisty and large Labrador went by down the other path. The lady thanked us profusely for our patience and calm, which was pretty cool πŸ™‚ No barking, no silliness. They sat (well Odin stood – he’s still too wobbly/sore to sit properly) and watched and Gina even wagged her tail. I gave them treats, they watched me. It was brilliant.
Same thing when we got to the car – another lady was parked there and she came up another path behind us a few seconds after us…
Dogs didn’t bark, even when they were in the car and the dog came and sniffed the car before heading to his car. I was SUPER proud of them πŸ™‚

Azzie was a little anxious as there was medium loudness kabooms coming from the range, so I put her back on her lead and she felt a bit “safer” and enjoyed herself more. But she was not in the mood to play, despite Odin’s best efforts (he even did a yoga stretch out on the open field, expecting her to want to play and chase him around – but she didn’t want to) to engage her.
Odin’s tummy not so great this morning – maybe too much food again (I upped it a little last night as he seemed VERY hungry) or maybe still ruminating on the marrow bones. He perhaps needs a smaller one πŸ™‚ I forget he’s not as big as the girls, sometimes.
All in all, a lovely walk!

Here are some photos:

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Odin is coming along really well – gaining weight, putting on muscle and he can go further and further on the walks now. He is a happy boy. He has a few quirks we need to work on – but nothing major (so far) that causes concern. He is a gentle boy, still, and I am hoping he remains that way. He and Azzie play so nicely together – nice and gently, the way Azzie likes – and even Gina gets in on the dog piles now. She did lose her temper a bit this morning and put him in his place, but I think he accidentally stood on her tail while they were wrestling. He wasn’t phased – just left her alone for a few minutes and then went back for more when she calmed down. She happily played some more, so she was fine too.

On other good news notes: I lost another pound! I’m well pleased with myself – only one more to go until I reach my (first) goal weight! It’s been a long, difficult haul for me, but worth it. I think I’m looking ok for a (nearly – just a few months away) 40 year old.

Day Six

Another day in the Gina, Azzie and Odin adventure πŸ™‚
Last night went well – out of his crate but very well behaved once again!
He DESPERATELY wants to come jump on the bed with the girls – but only really after breakfast… I’m still trying to decide if I should let him up or not, but I think the girls will let me know when he’s allowed up. They’re not ready yet, I don’t think – still a few grumbles from Azzie, and Gina EXPANDS on the bed when Odin comes into the room πŸ™‚ She’s subtle, our Gina bear.

Lovely morning walk this morning. A bit warmer than yesterday, so we took it slowly. Went down to the forest behind the campground, and a wander back along the road.
Dogs were great πŸ™‚ Azzie had a few “ears off” moments, so she had a run around and then went back onto her lead. All went well. All had good tummies too. Very happy.

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Day Five

And it’s Sunday! Which means it’s Day Five in the Gina, Azzie and Odin Adventure!

And you know what? It’s going pretty well, all things considered. Still things we are working on, but better. Azzie is behaving much better with him, especially inside the apartment, and she no longer growls at him when he comes near her or her toys. She instigates a game sometimes too.

I’ve found a good balance for Odin’s food – his tummy is doing much better and he doesn’t need any more tablets to keep it that way. He’s eating his food very sweetly, and delicately and enjoying it a great deal – because he knows that there’s another meal coming and he won’t starve. I’ve given him an allergy tablet in the evenings and it seems to be helping his itchies a great deal.

This was his second night out of his crate and it all went well πŸ™‚ He’s chewed up his blanket a bit, and Gina’s fake fur blanket too… but it’s a comfort thing, so it should stop.

 

My main issue right now is the walks on the short lead – so any walk on post or in areas where they all need to be on their leads. Which is all the rest of our walks, basically. We go for 3 or 4 walks as a pack every day around post, and generally it’s fine, until Azzie sees another dog. Then she turns into a complete idiot. It’s not aggression or anything – she just REALLY wants to say hello, and of course she drags Gina with, who also gets all riled up (again, no aggression, just way too excited) and now I’m worried she’s going to get Odin doing the same thing. I try to keep them all walking calmly next to me, or behind me (as Gina likes to be) but then they split up to go sniff things, and then it’s tangles and I’m swapping leads and climbing out of the center of lead webs and they keep swapping sides and switching who they want to walk with and Gina is going ahead and then dropping behind me on the other side, and Azzie just goes ahead and then I ask her to walk next to me and she does for a second, but then she finds something else she wants to sniff so she just barges in front of me (I’ve nearly fallen over her I don’t know how many times) and if I don’t want to fall, I sidestep or stop and then I stand on Gina or on Odin and it’s becoming a nightmare. I’m getting so annoyed and it was so nice before! It’s not Odin’s fault – he’s really sweet on the lead – especially on his own. So is Azzie, and so is Gina! But our pack walks.. arg.. it starts out really nicely and then it’s “OMG I”VE NEVER SEEN A DOG BEFORE I MUST GO SEE IT NOW NOW NOW!” and I’m being dragged from one side of the street to the other, or up a grass bank, or down a line of cars, by Azzie. She’s 115lbs (over 50kg) and Gina is almost 100lbs (almost 50kg) – they weigh, together, more than I do. Even separately they weigh almost as much as I do! My hands were torn up the other day by the stupid idiot and all she wanted to do was say hello to the wiener dogs. Happened again today. And the owners just watch us with this blank expression, no correction, while their dogs yap wildly and run around going nuts and growl at my three, which doesn’t help.

And Gina and Odin had an altercation – not sure what happened as I was busy untangling my thumb from Azzie’s lead before it got snapped off while she whined and went on about the dogs ON THE OTHER BLOODY SIDE OF THE FIELD – I think perhaps Odin stood on Gina’s tail, or Gina stood on his sore leg. Something. I don’t know.

*deep breath*

And then as soon as we had sorted ourselves out and carried on our way.. Azzie was FINE. Walking next to me again. Gentle as a lamb. I think I need to get her a martingale collar or something. Just some way to GET HER ATTENTION before she turns into Idiot Dog. And I AM remaining calm. I AM keeping my temper in check. So I really don’t know why she’s still doing it. I correct her, I try distract her (with my voice, by standing in front of her, or with a treat) but it only lasts a second.

It’s a bit hard to convince people that this 115lbs of hairy “rawring” dog barreling toward their dog, dragging me and two other dogs behind her, is “friendly” and “just wants to say hi” – because that’s it, really. She totally calms down when she gets to the dog. Waggy tail, big smile, no growling no barking, nothing. Even gives them a Berner play bow if she likes them. And Gina too – she’s all puffed up silliness and then when she says hi, she’s waggy tail and sniffing faces and then totally bored and moving on to something else and ignores them. Odin is very confused. He’s not sure if he should be all big chested and boy-dog with his hackles up, or if he should hang back and pretend he’s not there until it’s all over. I don’t want him picking up Idiot’s bad habits. I want him to make FRIENDS. I want him to meet Django and Luca and make MORE friends. I don’t want him to think that every dog we see needs to be GUNNED AT, like Azzie does, until we get to them. Ah well. early days still, right?

Hoping my friend Nicole can give me some helpful tips. I don’t have anyone to help me, you see, so it all has to be done by me. Sort it OUT! Fix it NOW before it becomes even more of a problem. And it WILL become a problem if I don’t get this right. One day, Azzie will gun at the wrong dog and it will be _bad_ and I don’t want that. She’s taken a LONG time to get over her incident with Marcel, and I don’t want her to go through that again. (and it wasn’t even that bad – it was a little unexpected/unintentional nip on the ear while in a dog pile at the dog park) She’s a sensitive dog and it would really do bad things to her psyche. And then Gina would step in. While she doesn’t approve of the way Azzie behaves, Gina is a real “big sister” and she would put ANY dog in their place that went for Azzie, even if Azzie caused it. And then there’s Odin… he growled at the little dogs today… which I don’t want!

So maybe a choke chain for Azzie? A martingale collar I would prefer – I know a lot of people with Berners who use them, because they’re big dogs who just don’t understand their size and strength. It’s not to harm them, just to have a little more control and a way of getting their attention. I would never hurt my dog intentionally. I’ll discuss it with Nicole, I think.

*sigh* As Nicole keeps telling me: Azzie is different. She’s just that kind of dog that takes a bit more effort. But she’s worth it. They all are. I love them all – even Odin. I don’t know him that well, but he’s definitely nudging his way into my heart very quickly. He’s a funny little man, with a lot of attitude, but a gentle soul and I know he is happy now and that makes my heart warm.

On a better note – what a lovely morning walk πŸ™‚

Dogs were super well behaved – Azzie had a lovely roll around in the dewy grass at every opportunity, and Odin piddled so much he had nothing left to piddle after a while and thought he’d try drinking from some puddles to refill his supply (I stopped him of course – not taking a chance with bugs in the water, thanks) so he could carry on doing it. We took a different path, and I had a good idea where it would come out, so it was exciting, but not too scary not knowing where we were going exactly. We ended up coming out near the campgrounds and had a loop around there, and then headed down ANOTHER different path and ended up back at the car πŸ™‚ It was great.

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Tick tock and flying solo

Today is Monday (it happens to be Easter Monday, which means everything is closed of course, but that’s ok because I got everything done that I needed to, yesterday) and it’s one day to go before the arrival of our wee boy, Odin.

I’m waiting on information from my husband regarding Odin’s crate (is it ours or does it remain the shipping company’s?) but I have decided to take Helga anyway. Driving Naartjie (my little orange car) around is fine for short distances and not very high speeds, but the trip tomorrow is far and we need to travel quickly as well. There should be space in the boot for half of the crate and the other half can be put in the back with Odin – he only needs one side πŸ™‚ I’ll make sure he is comfy on his side of the car, as best I can. Since she has been “sleeping” for a little while now (despite my best efforts, the battery was not charged enough, eventually, so I let her rest) I am borrowing a portable jump starter from my wonderful neighbour. I will bring this with, just in case. Don’t want to be stuck in Frankfurt with a scared dog and a dead car. My neighbour says it starts up the BMW’s (even their BMW station wagon) at least 2 times without needing to be recharged so I’m hoping the long trip will help boost her battery enough that it won’t be needed.

Girls and I had a lovely walk this morning – but I don’t take photos on post: it’s not allowed – and a really good walk yesterday too. An hour long walk in the farmlands. They were awesome. Azzie well behaved and Gina happy and waggy tailed.

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On another note in my weight loss/fitness journey – I decided to drop myfitnesspal and head on out “on my own” and see if I can continue the loss without using that site to count my calories and mark my exercise. It will take immense self control and I need to keep an eye on my portion sizes, as that’s what stuffed me up in the first place. Keeping my meals small and my snacks smaller, I have lost a hell of a lot of weight. Plus, I’m exercising as well (calisthenics) and of course, still walking the dogs. We’ve been walking very far in the mornings which has helped my calorie burn a great deal, so hopefully we can continue that when Odin arrives. He might need a bit of a chance to “catch up” fitness-wise, as he’s been a stray his whole life and he also had surgery on his broken leg and dislocated knee – but my husband says he is doing VERY well and full of bounce and energy again.