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Designer Dog Blog for michdwy

Blog for michdwy

Entries: 7 - 8 of 8

The Joy of Walking a Pack

by michdwy on 5/2/2010 at 6:09 AM in Dog Walking

I am particularly fortunate in living in an excellent place for walking dogs. I just have to go out of the gate at the rear of my property and I am on open common land, the moors, with the right to roam for everybody over a large area, provided they are on foot or horseback. In other words all vehicles are forbidden. Although the riding of bikes is officially included in this ban, the countryside wardens close their eyes to mountain bikes, or any cycles without engines, but not motor bikes.

Where we are in Yorkshire, is on the backbone of hills, the Pennines, which run up the north of England like a backbone. These moors, covered in bracken and heather are near and the same as those depicted by Emily Bronte in "Wuthering Heights".

This morning, calm with a lovely sunrise, was glorious, although there was still a lingering touch of frost at 6am, when I took my pack of five dogs for our usual hour and a half morning walk. The pack was composed of my two dogs - Millie a 6 year old(greyhound/border collie) lurcher, Boo a 2 year old Pug-Zu, two family dogs who are staying with me over the holiday weekend, Tess a year old black Labrador, Mollie a 5 month old Beagle and last but not least, the largest one of his kind I have ever seen, Dylan a 5 year old Weimaraner who belongs to a neighbour, but who comes with me frequently. As the only male he takes his role as alpha 1 seriously and protects his girlfriends. However recently two greyhounds, who have the occasional territorial disagreement with him, tried to attack him, although both were on the leash. He would have responded but he refrained when I called him to heel. However, Boo the Pug-Zu objected to her pack leader being attacked and rushed at the greyhounds growling. For her pains, she was picked up by the ear by one of them and soundly shaken. Fortunately I could free her quickly and she was not seriously hurt, just her pride. Despite being an unsuitable shape for warfare, she has the watchdog spirit no doubt inherited from her Llasa Apso ancestors, bred to protect the Dalai Lamas. She is a most remarkable little dog, who never fails to surprise and amuse me.

Being a Sunday, we had the moors to ourselves at this early hour. On a weekday at this time there are many dogs being walked by their owners before they have to leave for work.

We set off to walk across the moorland, four of the dogs running free, just the Beagle, the baby of the pack on an extended leash. Although the lurcher, an inveterate hunter was shackled too, when we reached the most likely area for hares (jack rabbits). All the dogs enjoyed themselves jostling and wrestling, chasing each other as best they could, given the disparity of the pack members. From the nearby reservoirs, mallards and Canada geese were grazing on the grass, until the dogs approached, then took to the wing, vocally objecting to the intrusion. Apart from their calls and those of other birds there was silence. When we reached the flat summit of the hill, the labrador and of course, not to be left out,the Pug-Zu went for a swim, the others just paddling in the ponds, dug out in the search for coal by my great-grandfather and grandfather long ago, and now just the home for other ducks.

To reach this point had been the hardest part for the octogenarian human, no trouble at all to the four-legged walkers, except perhaps the odd wheeze from the one with a pug father. Then by a circuitous route back home for breakfast.
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How to keep your dog's eyes free of hair

by michdwy on 10/5/2009 at 7:37 AM in First Post

I have a delightful Pug Zu, but like many of the smaller breeds, especially those who are near to the ground, have a flat face, fairly prominent eyes and lots of facial hair. she tends to get quite regularly "goo" in her eyes. which can easily be removed with damp tissue. Hair around her eyes possibly makes the problem worse and certainly spoils her vision. The obvious answer is clip the hair. Easier said than done. When the scissors came into view, my little Boo vigourously tried to escape from my embrace and I feared she might twist or jerk onto them, although I use blunt-nosed ones. Recently I met the owners of a couple of similar designer dogs, Shih Tzu/Jack Russells. I mentioned this problem and they gave me a recommendation which seems ridiculous - put the dog up on an ironing board at its highest level. I was very sceptical, but it does work. At first Boo started to struggle as usual, then within a couple of minutes, allowed me to clear the hair from around her eyes and I can now do it regularly. I assume what is happening, that when Boo moves, the iron board tends to wobble a bit and she realises that she must stay still.
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