Living with a dog – issue 4

Living with a dog is a weekly overview of the posts published in the last week, and some of the discussions prompted in the comments or thoughts that I had as a result of hindsight later on. The following list gives you a quick idea of the main topics covered in this issue, before the full article:

  • dog behaviours when out on a walk
  • dogs with a fear of car travel
  • the different types of leash available that can be put to leisure and training use
  • thunderstorm phobia
  • mobile photography apps for pet and everyday photography
  • our new Facebook page

Going Out and Socialisation

This week we went for longer daily walks 1-1.5hr before bedtime in an attempt to tire her out and sleep better at night. Donna had been keeping us up at night and it was vexing.

Donna of course was overjoyed, she loves the long walks. Sometimes, if the walk was too short, she would refuse to go home because she wanted to continue walking. She would sit on the ground refusing to budge and passer-bys think she is being a good dog. But the humans of Ruby, Simba and Ku all know better. Donna is not the only dog that does that. :P The night walks did turn up some interesting opportunities for night photography, so I’ve got the fodder for Monday’s phoneography post. Whoopie :P

I am slowly publishing a series of posts about our outing to Changi Beach. I love all the photos (the good ones anyway), so I thought to highlight groups of them in a series of posts where the dogs vivacity of life can be better appreciated, rather than one giant, overwhelming photo dump where details get lost. So far, it seems people are enjoying them but do let me know if you grow tired of seeing beach pictures everyday/other day :P 

Dawn @americandogblog commented on this post that “Donna was a good lesson for other dogs that don’t like to ride in the car. Just go somewhere fun and suddenly the car is you best friend. :)”

It hadn’t occurred to me but yes, it makes sense that taking them to fun places with the car could be one way to make dogs associate car with positive feelings. But this also made me think of Lisa @NW frame of Mind, who shared about her beloved “family dog that would suddenly decide to not get in or out of cars. 80 lbs. of Black Lab with four legs spread and braced around the sides of the door frame. There was no way to move her. :(” Now one would need to tackle this problem before one can even get the dog on the road to somewhere fun. Tough situation!

The trip to Changi Beach was also the first time ever we let Donna off-leash to play in an open space. But for people who are uncomfortable with their dogs being off-lead, what can they do to make the beach experience a better one? Perhaps a 50ft leash could help, I thought, referencing a recent post from Zeke’s adventures.

Roseylinn suggested an alternative to the leash, the “… retractable leash. They allow for easy length adjustment depending on location and circumstances.

I don’t have first hand experience with a retractable leash before, but I did read somewhere that this are not recommended, so I was unsure.

But Gretchen @Zeke’s Adventures clarification helped me to understand better. She said she does “use a retractable leash in some circumstances also. The reason I use the 50ft is because I want to practice recall with him and it is better with a loose leash. The retractable allows the dog to always feel a bit of pressure on the neck so isn’t as good as a training aid. But should work fine if you just need some extra line for a romp in the waves (;”

2browndawgs added that they “used a 30 foot check cord when our dogs were young and did not have good recall. You can also use that to teach recall.

No wonder new dog owners like me are confused with so many different products and lengths on the market. D: But I thought this was a good starting point at least, before the beach, we hadn’t considered this topic before simply because there was no reason for Donna to go off-lead and therefor no strong motivating factor for us to train recall :P Heh, talk about lazy!

Stuff We’re Training

With the relative success of letting Donna go off-leash at Changi Beach, I have started practising off-lead heel with her in short spurts when we go down to her twice-daily loo breaks. I am still tardy at recall training so that needs work still. When it comes to crate training, she has become comfortable enough with the crate to nap in it.

Relieving Thunderstorm Phobia

Climbing onto my shoulder is a new behaviour that Donna has started showing in the past week, when she feels jumpy about the on-coming rain.

weggieboy said the post answered some questions he had about peepads, and drew a comparison to cats who are confused because they are encouraged to use cat trees made of carpet for scratching posts and yet are negated when they scratch floor carpets. Speaking for Donna at least, using the newspapers and peepad is trained behaviour, but this trained behaviour lapses when our dog becomes too fearful beyond threshold and is no longer able to act beyond natural instinct. That is when towels, floor rugs and mats become fair game for elimination.

Ruby the Black Labrador and Kristen have suggested the thundershirt may help before, and guess what came in for Donna this week!… :D

courtesy of Thundershirt and Hound Habitat

Photography, Phoneography and Apps

Over on Instagram, Suzanne Pick asked me what app I was using for the text in my August Break pictures. I mostly use Moldiv, which at first glance looks like more of a photo collage app, but it has text capabilities that I prefer over the other apps on my iPhone. When snapping pictures, I favour Camera+ and its Ansel filter for high contrast black and whites when exploring the form of light fixtures.

You are not my dog buddy, says the golden retrieverSome of you may know that this blog features 100% iPhone pictures. While I really regret not lugging along my camera (not the iPhone) for the recent posts on Changi Beach (not being able to take clear, zoom in shots from far was a bummer), I also realise the limitation gave me a different format of pictures to work with to tell a fun story. One that lets the reader see the overall scenery of the beach, and the action/movement of the dogs around it. Sometimes, one doesn’t need to show the beautiful dog all the time, how it is having fun in a beautiful scenery is also pretty cool.

And to be honest, I wouldn’t have been able to crystalise this thought if I hadn’t seen hdk79’s long shots of her and her dog.

美瑛 マイルドセブンの丘

A photo posted by HD kat (@hd_kat) on

I wish Mr P could take such pictures of me and Donna together like that! But I suppose I can endeavour to take such pictures of him and Donna together, haha!

So anyway, on Wordless Wednesdays, I am going to start posting my favourite Shot of the Week, which will be what I think is my absolute best or favourite photo out of all the photos I have shot/edited and a short description why I feel so. And since I will be doing that, I thought to make it a photo challenge.

Not another one? Yes, another one, LOL. Quite a few of us post pictures everyday or participate in one photo challenge or another through the week. I want this challenge to help us think about the pictures we are taking and posting, pick the best of the lot (just one) for that week and identify what makes it a good shot for us. This is a competition against ourselves, and not others. It is not about what others think about our photos, but what we think about it.

What do you think? Anyone interested to join? Look out for details this Wednesday ;) 

Blog news

Donna | Weliveinaflat
I was wondering why Donna’s Facebook profile is so lonely :P, and then the lovely 2browndawgs gave me some timely advice. :D She said, “I would love to friend you on Facebook, but my blog page will only let me like pages and not friend people.” So now I have a page! And the great thing about the page is, I couldn’t embed the profile on wordpress but I could embed a page (see the FB widget on the sidebar?). Fantastic!

If you read all the way to the end of this fairly long post, give yourself a clap on the back! Haha! Have a lovely weekend!!! :D

Warm regards and Thanks to Jodi Stone [heartlikeadog] who hosts Follow-up Friday, and her co-host for the week Joann from Sand Spring Chesapeakes. Powered by Linky Tools, click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

7 thoughts on “Living with a dog – issue 4

  1. I don’t think you could share too many photos of Donna at the beach. Keep ’em coming! Thanks for sharing my comment. Lisa sure does have a challenge on her hands. In regards to retractable leads, I made the mistake of using one for Maya when she was young. As a result, her leash walking habits were atrocious. When I realized my mistake, it took forever to undo the bad habits and train properly. A 50ft lead is definitely better for training recall. Even if you never let your dog off a lead, it is always good to teach the come command. You never know when your dog might accidentally get away from you.

  2. *slowly dawns on us* So that is what whee are doing wrong on Facebook too!

    Anyway, our hoomans Auntie uses a retractable (extending) leash. This is because they can make it short walking to the fields and parks then long when they get. They are really easy and safe to use. Since using one like that instead of a really long one, Toddy and Missy are much better behaved. They know that when the leash is long they are free to play but when they are called back and it is shortened it is time to behave.

    Whee think it is just down to personal preference though.

    Have a great wheekend

    Nutty, Nacho, Buddy & Basil

    • oh looks like I wasn’t the only un-Facebook savvy cave-human around here huh? I think Donna can learn to be like Toddy and Missy. Thanks for telling me about them :) I really think you guys need a haiku with your names in it… :P

  3. Hooray I liked your new FB page!

    Sorry for the confusion on leash/check cord. We used an orange colored rope (well you can use any rope) instead of a leash. Over here we call it a check cord. It has no loop on the end so it helps it not to snag on brush and such. Many hunters will start young dogs on a check cord and the idea is that if the dog doesn’t come all the way to you, at least you can grab the cord.

I love your comments! It will help me greatly if you can leave them on the actual post that this post links to so that I can have them all in one place, thanks! :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s