Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Settling back in........

Feels like it's been a strange few weeks since we got back from Oz.

I think it took Chester at least 2 weeks to settle back in and I think he found it even harder as his routine changed with the clocks going back.

We now have to train in the mornings and go for a run in the evenings. I find it harder to train him in the morning as time is limited (45 mins - 1hr) unless I want to get up even earlier. No thanks! At the weekends with the light fading so quickly it feels like you do the morning walk then a couple of hours later the afternoon one so I've also swapped to one 2 hour walk in the early afternoon. This works a lot better.

This time last year Chester was only 6 months old and in the evenings we used to do a little 30 mins walk round the roads. Neither of us particularly enjoyed it but he was only young so didn't need a great run.

Now 18 months and used to 2 hours a day I need to think of something a bit more energetic than walking round the roads for an hour. Running! We used to run in the mornings but mostly along the canal and off lead. Now it's dark it has to be on pavements and through town.

Bought Chester a new Nordkyn harness which he seems a lot happier in and can move a lot better (he's a lot stronger!).

We've had a slight back turn as firework time came along. Chester was unimpressed and nervous. I can get him to stay in the room with us on another sofa rather than hiding and make him go outside for a wee but if left alone at night he's decided it's a good idea to open the kitchen door and jump the stair gate. A real pain as he used to be really good at going to bed himself and just staying there until the morning. I decided to put a ban on him coming upstairs with us in the evening (he used to take himself to bed) and having more time in his bed in the kitchen so he was getting used to it again. It wasn't really working so last night reverted to letting him back up again (thinking it was more in his routine). He went to bed on command and was quiet all night :)

Fireworks also affected our run. If he hears anything loud (usually only on the last part of the run) then he stops and lays down. Not good when you are a good 2 miles from home! I thought it would pass as the fireworks ended but it happened again last night. I've decided it's more of a confidence issue. Although he loves to run and pull in the harness, we're doing 4 miles a night and I'm always asking him to be in front and take the lead the whole way. I think sometimes he has enough of this and wants to do normal dog stuff, pee up things and sniff! So when he started to slow last night I let him onto grassy areas asking him to search in hedges etc as we would on walks then a little 'get on' and off we went again to the next area. It seemed to make him a bit happier and we got home with tail up and no more lying down. I'll also take a ball with me this evening. Anything can be achieved with a ball in hand!

Once I feel this has passed I'd like to get him back into the noise of guns. Currently he's not as nervous as he is with fireworks but his ears definitely go back and tail drops. When he sees the other dogs ignoring them he goes back to his normal state. If we take it slowly I think we can get better with this.