Wednesday, 31 October 2007


I find that sometimes I blog a lot about something, then move on without leaving any explanations. I'll try to amend that today.

First, there's Jake. He'll be 12 weeks on Friday. He's fully immunised and has had a couple of play dates with friends' dogs. I think he'll be a beta dog. He tends to be submissive when he meets up with other dogs. I walk him down to the beach, where I take him off his lead. He's very good off the lead. He'll run ahead, then stop and look for me. If I've gone a different direction, he'll run after me. He obeys the sit command fairly often. We need to work on Stay and Come. He gets tired and starts whimpering so I don't take him too far. When he's on the lead, he's a different story. He strains, trying to go faster and faster all the time. I try to control him and keep him on my left at all times. When he gets a bit out of hand, I stop. This forces him to stop. I then tell him to sit. I won't move until he does sit and I'm trying to teach him that he doesn't go again unless I go again. I also make him stop each time we come to a street we have to cross. He gets scared by the traffic and big trucks (lorries) and I'm trying to get him used to the sound of the traffic.

At home, he can be a little stinker. Literally. The other night he got into some onions and decided to have a snack. He's chewed on some furniture a bit, but nothing drastic. He still jumps up and still nips a bit. I tried the spray bottle suggestion from Laurie. Turns out he loves to be sprayed, and would open his mouth the second he saw the bottle. So now we try ostracism. Either he goes in another room or outside or we leave him alone. But then he gets into onions.

I've promised pictures, but my daughter doesn't know how to upload them from her phone (or can't be bothered) and the only photo we got before my husband's camera packed in is an out-of-focus one with the kids.

Now, my mother. As you might recall, there was a bit of a crisis with her in the summer before I went to visit her. She had hurt her knee pulling my stepfather out of a chair. She was depressed and fed up and ready to move in with my sister. Then my nephew and his daughter and my niece and her three daughters came to visit, and everything got worse. By the time I got there, my mother was exhausted. I got a woman from Social Services to come out and talk to my mother and stepfather about what services are available for them. They each got a personal alarm ("I've fallen down and I can't get up.") and a cleaner comes twice a month now. My mother's knee has healed, she sounds so much better on the phone, and she is NOT moving in with my sister, who doesn't have the room anyway as her three sons, one son's girlfriend, one granddaughter and one grandson-to-be are all living with her now.

About my son: I had a lot of angst over the past year about my son. Where we live, children can take an exam called the 11-Plus to determine what secondary school they go to. If they pass, they get a place at a grammar school, which tends to be single-sex and more academically oriented than comprehensives, which are co-ed, all-ability schools. In primary school my son hadn't exactly shone. He was always a borderline pass, at best. But he did pass the 11-plus. He has proved himself to be organised and confident. He ran in an inter-form race in September. The first week he finished 33rd out of 150 boys, with no training whatsoever. The next week he finished 7th. The night we got Jake, we also got a phone call from the man who heads the cross-country team at his school inviting him to join. He did, and has made decent finishes ever since. I don't think I have enough words to express how proud and relieved I am.

About my daughter: We survived the birthday party. She continues to be self-engrossed, which is probably par for the course for a 13-year-old.

If I've left anything out, please let me know.


Annie said...

Great update!

I'm delighted your Mum is in better form.

And how great for your son?!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

annie: I know. He's always stood in his sister's shadow, and it's great to see him standing out on his own.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Updates are good and positive updates are even better. You're right - it's very easy to start something on the blog and not finish it.

Congrats all around!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

RC: Thanks. Of course I've run the risk that NOBODY cares.

Exmoorjane said...

Oh, I want a beta dog, please can I have a beta dog??? I'll swap you our Alpha one, pretty please.....

Crikey, 11-plus - that's a phrase to strike horror. I went to a grammar school in Cheam, of all places - often say it ruined my life, made me a workaholic with a puritan work ethic....and robbed me of art school.

You know, I feel bad about Liz Jones as a friend actually knows her and said she is really very nice, just totally mad....and all I do is moan on about her..... hey ho - I suppose you could say that at least she replied to the email!!! But then again - really! Dozy wotsit.

Onwards - I am sitting t yping this looking like some mad goth - all witched up for Hallowe'en trick or treat.....mad black wig, dodgy eye makeup - hey, it's the 80s all over again. jxx

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

exmoorjane: Wish I could see you now. Bet you get all the fellas. Yeah, poor Lizzie, but she brought it on herself. Maybe my beta dog should meet your alpha dog sometime. You can't win for losing with this education system.

Kaycie said...

Since the water didn't work with Jake, you might try noise. When he does something naughty, make a big noise just out of sight, perhaps with a couple of pan lids. He'll associate the noise with the behavior and, so they say, stop the behavior. It has actually worked fairly well with Jack.

Glad your mom is doing so much better, and how wonderful about your son. Thirteen has sucked with both my older kids, but it git better. Hang in there.

Kaycie said...

Git? WTH? I meant gets.

laurie said...

EXCELLENT updates.

and excellent news on jake. i'm so impressed at how well you're training him, and sorry about the spray bottle advice being exactly the opposite of what it should have been. (my neighbor had a similar reaction with her chocolate lab. but i figured any border collie worth his salt would hate the water.)

if he pulls too much on the walk you can get him a Gentle Leader. we use the chest harness, but some people use the one that goes around the muzzle. keeps them from pulling.

Casdok said...

You must be so proud of your son!
And glad to hear your mother is feeling better. That must be a relief.

DJ Kirkby said...

Oh this post was a great idea, I think I should do something similar but wouldnt know where to start!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

kaycie: I was going to try the noise idea, but it actually requires a bit of organization and more than one person to stop the biting. Git outta here -- I thought that was Oklahoma talk!

laurie: He doesn't like water, but for some reason really likes the spray bottle. We even tried putting vinegar in it. He loved that just as much. I'll look out for the Gentle Leader and muzzle harness.

Casdok: It is a relief. These middle years are a bitch actually.

DJ: Yes, you should try it.

Queeny said...

OK, I hope you're enjoying your dog more than I am mine. I've never been a dog person and didn't want one, but hubs and kids practically begged me into submission.

Glad your mom's doing better, and hooray for that son of yours. Well done.

As for daughter, take good notes as I will be needing some help in about seven years. My 6-year-old is already self-engrossed.

Flowerpot said...

Good news about Jake but at that age he will pull on a lead until he's taught how to walk properly. He sounds as if he's doing well though ditto son and - what a good update!

Angela-la-la said...

Hey honey, I can't remember why but dogs aren't supposed to eat onions so you might wanna store them somewhere else. Also I found out that raisins are poisonous to dogs so watch out if you or the kids have them.

I got a Halti for Kracker and she's a pleasure to walk now - no more dislocated shoulders for me!

As for the biting, you can make a loud noise with your mouth lol! A loud, sharp 'ouch!' will get Jake to realise that he has to be careful with his teeth around his humans.

Can you tell I've been reading up about dogs lately?