Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Obedience training

Today i asked our local dog trainer to come by our house 9:30and teach me how to work with Claire. Dodo sensei trained with British dog trainer John Uncle, and I always meet him on morning walks.
Let me just say CACI trained Claire perfectly. Dodo sensei praised her highly, saying there was really nothing she needed to improve, she doesn't bark madly and chase people away at the door, but alerts and then waits for me. She readily enters her cage on command and sits quietly when she has to stay home alone, and during mealtimes she waits there patiently too. She'll sit for treats, and walk heel when you demand it and all! In a word, perfect, with a great temperament as well- he was amazed such a great dog would be abandoned, which speaks volumes for the work and love CACI put into her. THANK YOU!
This Setter Mum here wants to get more educated, that's what it be able to give Claire clearer commands, and use hand signals and the today, I learned signals for sit, down and stay. Claire never seemed to understand down before with me, although her sit and stay are near perfect, when she was on the leash with her collar she immediately understood it was a training session, and worked intently. Dodo sensei got her to down a couple of times, and now I think she's getting the hang of it. He asked me to give commands only once and then give the dog time to think, rather than bawling the same command at it over and over...makes sense, when you think about it...I really enjoyed the session, and I'm going to try and practice every day around 9:30 or so.
Talking about hand signals, the sit signal is pretty much like the way i throw an underhand ball, so it must be really confusing for Claire, I'm telling her to go off and get that ball and sit down at the same time. I guess I'll have to use an overhand pitch for throwing toys....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sailor Claire

I'm really happy the way Claire is beginning to hold her head high and look proud, just a picture perfect Englsih setter. This of course is her looking up at a cat sitting on the wall, so she's full of excited happy energy.

Claire wearing her life jacket at the Bayside Marina...she waited patiently under the table while i ate lunch (delicious pizza there, by the way), mainly lying down quietly, until a school group of kids walked by in twos and threes, and suddenly she was the film star, sitting up proudly showing her best pose. Not taken her out on the ocean yet, though...just enjoying the atmosphere.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The power of love

Chocolate Labrador Gon hanging out in the park, a mature doggie resting his aching bones after the exertion of the walk...
Meanwhile Claire only has eyes for pigeons, statue-like in her intense concentration while Mum has a chat with Gon's Mum.
Unil Gon gets up and says, wow, is that ever a sexy lady close by, and goes over for a whiff of womanhood... which Claire remains totally oblivious....I only have eyes for pigeons, she says, not romance, thank you. In fact, I declare i don't even notice you making moves, now...
Gon's dad had to lead him away protesting. Amazing how motivating love can be, and all the while Claire is focusing on her pigeon, pigeon, pigeon, pigeon, pigeon,.......

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Claire in the cart-shopping dog

The toilet gave up its ghost, so we went to the Shimachu home center to order a new one. Dogs are allowed in the store if they ride in shopping carts, Claire's shopping debut...
I am not a shopper, she declares. Ban excess! Recycle! Sleep off the shopping fever!
At any rate there was a special on renewing two toilets, up and downstairs, so we're tempted...Lots of people stopped to comment on what a beauty Claire is and ask if she is a dalmation...

I'm a beautiful wubsy gorgeous tubsy English setter, and what a laid-back sweet soul I am, indeed! My fur is all soft and silky with Fish4dogs, and life is good. Yes, you can say hello and stroke me, life is good...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lazy days

Total diva look, black and white film star...Marlene Dietrich...while i tried to put on a brown beret cap for another pic Claire woke up from her dreamy state and wanted to play, so in order to save the cap from destruction i got out her toys. She loves the bambi...
...which seems to bring out her mother instincts, and she gets the bum in place and starts licking it...keep that little bum clean now darling, and hold still while i do it, eh?
Meanwhile a delivery van drove up our street and stopped, and Claire switched instantly to guard dog mode and barked a couple of warning woofs, before she decided A) she'd worked enough at telling me there was something up outside and B) she was finished cleaning the little critter and C) if nothing else was happening she was going to go back to snoozing in her favorite spot beside the armchair...Meanwhile I'm trying to get up the oomph to go shopping...HOT, HOT, HOT with a tinge of autumn, and lazy mellow breezes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Comments, yippee

Thank you Rodney. I tried to comment back, like on Facebook, and found i am not authorized to comment back! I need to make a google account. Weird! My blog and all...
At any rate unfortunately a microchip is not a GPS tracking device: it tells a hand held chip reader the information on the registered owner. The owner can then be contacted and the dog returned to its home address. So the dangers of lethal injection by the authorities are lessened, but the trauma of getting lost and not finding your way home are still on the cards. I'm keeping her on the leash for the time being.
Apparently in the states Gundog owners who go hunting free with their dogs in the wilds do use GPS tracking collars, and make sure the batteries are fully charged, because the collar is only good for the life of the battery. I checked up some sites, and they seem fearfully expensive, so perhaps in some years they will be smart, small, neat and standard collar gear the way cell phones are now here in Japan.
I took Claire to Kuraki park yesterday and she went WILD. In and out of the underbrush, the lead got all tangled up and i had to crawl (yes, crawl, in and under bamboo shoots and logs and all, snagging my hair and my jeans and god knows) just to get her back into the open. She went into a solid point over a cat hiding under a bush, electric from head to tail, and then went for the cat, hell for leather, and i got so tired trying to hold her, rein her in, calm her down and get her senses back, not to mention begin to move away from the spot. It's also so painful for her neck when she strains so hard against the leash, and hard on me holding her steady. I was exhausted. Cats in the kitchen and cats in the woods are two different kettle of fish...She gets completely oblivious to commands, like a berserker...I was reading in "The other end of the leash" to sit down and stroke her chest with long easy downward strokes to calm her pounding heart, to breathe out slowly and say eeeeaaaaassssyyyy, so i was trying it out, ho hum, ho hum, well, Yes, and No....

Monday, August 22, 2011

Microchip day

It's a dull rainy day, and perfect for visiting the vet: here he is, friendly and eminently competent Koyama sensei with Claire. A vet in a million. Afghan hound mama Mariko recommended him, and now I know why! As ever I am indebted to doggie friends.
Claire weighs's official! A healthy tubsy weight, and after a quick heartrate monitor and ultrasound scan her innards prove to be healthy too.
Driving to Koyama Animal Hospital in Asahi ward takes about 15minutes by car, Claire was a wee angel sitting quietly in the back stretched out on the floor.
I really trust Koyama sensei, because he immediately knew there was something wrong with Sofie, my first setter, and did ultrasounds to show me her giant kidney tumors and bladder inflammation.
This time Claire has the thumbs up healthwise, and Koyama sensei injected her microchip.
MICROCHIP! BEEP BLEEP! Never to be lost again. Hip hip HOORAY! what a beautiful doggie she is, she is.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sofa dog

Sexy on the sofa-10 days and she's made it from the cage to the ultimate...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Visitor Francois

Francois, my friend Mariko's cat, comes by. The pictures are kind of in reverse order: Claire got all excited and happy, what, what? a visitor?...and sat down to watch Francois checking out the kitchen. See her wishing she could go out and play too, staring out the window after Francois left!

Francois enjoys a tidbit: Claire was generally well-mannered, but one moment she got too close she got swatted on the nose, so decided to sit demurely by the china cabinet and watch.
Claire obviously loves cats, and knows how to be gentle and calm around them...maybe we should get a kitten for her???

Friday, August 19, 2011

Walkies and eye contact

These four walkies pics may look all the same, but to me they're part of my project to get Claire to actually look at me and walk with me the way Choco, the chocolate lab, does with her master.
After some wild pigeon chasing I want her to get back into obedience mode, so I fell in step with Choco, so Claire can get a model of how a dog can relate during walkies. See how Choco not only holds step, which Claire does nicely, but actually looks for cues to her master's face, which Claire isn't...she's making her own best judgements as to how to walk/act under the given circumstances (short lead, well-mannered friend's example, act like a good dog for mummy, etc.).

This momentary eye-contact, the glance to my face for cues, is what I'm trying to establish with me and Claire...I think i need to work with her in doggie classes to set it up...Perhaps I'm not being clear enough with commands or something, or perhaps she'll only do it for Tosh. See she's aware he's taking the pic, and looking at him with the camera, rather than me holding the lead. Not that we don't manage fine with our walkies as it goes, we've got used to each other's style and she knows when i need her to be careful and stop for cars, or wait on a short lead while I bag up poop...Ho hum.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Love Beam

Daddy don't go!!! Claire goes into love beam mode to try and stop Tosh going off to work...she seemed to know from the dry cleaning smell of the trousers that he's off to the office, and up she got from the sanctuary of the air conditioner and hit the sweetie pie rub my tummy heart melting don't leave me mode...

Worked for a bit! Pic from Claire's angle on the floor...ooooh daddy, how will i ever manage without you??? How can you leave poor little helpless me???
I bet Claire sees about five of these views of Tosh with hearts all round dancing in front of her eyes :P . Just for good measure here it is again!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Another HOT day

HOW HOT CAN it get?????

HOW LONG CAN my tongue get?????

Bird dog

At the top of the park there's an open woody area where the pigeons poddle, and Claire goes into hunting mode, very slowly tracking the bird and setting. I've started to read up on gun dog skills so that i can appreciate what she's trying to do, and react nad praise her the way she expects (not that I'll be buying a shotgun any time soon!)

Times like this she's so focused, she's oblivious to other dogs, and won't accept treats. I need to work on improving our partnership skills so I'm part of the hunting/working picture for her too, so that she will respond to my commands and come on call.
After the intense concentration, she likes to flop on the leaves in a different woody area, and I was massaging her lower back to ease her and get the energy up to walk home. Birrrrd dog!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer splash debut

We took Claire to B-wood dogpark and the pool was available for 500 yen. She went wild in the pool, sploshing around after balls and things. A kind terrier mum gifted her with the blue ball when she saw how much Claire loved it.
Here she is like a dragon bringing back the ball, and then gently handing it to me to throw it again. She pawed it to make the ball bob and jump, playing catch with it all by herself. She shared the pool with a cute corgi no problems, friendly to all doggie fellows.

One week

Claire has been with us for one week now. Here she is happily back from her evening walk, munching Fish4dogs dogfood which helps make her coat silky and long, and happily bloated and sleepy.

Finally here is a pic of the long lead (7.5 m) I made from camp ropes, and my Gill yacht gloves which come in handy for reeling in the rope during the walk.
It drags in the dirt, so I have washed it and hung it out to dry :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Afternoon tea with Mariko, Caesar and Dior

I had a fun afternoon chatting with Mariko, who helped me find my first English setter, Sofie, and supported me with love, sound advice and gifts of dog food as I struggled with her failing health. Today i had some time to introduce Claire, and encourage her to make friends with Caesar and Dior, Mariko's two beautiful Afghan hounds.
Claire was happy to meet them one at a time: Caesar is calm and quite the gentleman.
She got a little scared when there were two of them, and moved to the window, but I'm sure she'll soon gain confidence and we can share walkies, or maybe go to the dog run together in future. Mariko showered us with gifts of Godiva chocolates for Mum, and Italian Forza Deer and Potato dog food for Claire- munching happily as i write. Thank you, Mariko!
She also gave me an interesting little book of "The dog's ten commandments", which CACI gundog rescue had also printed in Claire's folder, so I'm going to read quietly this evening.

A life worth saving

Claire just loves her morning and evening walk. Here's her happy smile after chasing pigeons and meeting friends. This woody area is on the way home, and after the exercise she does a second poop and catches her breath relaxing in the leaves. And then when she gets home, she falls fast asleep in front of the airconditioner, dreaming of supper...
Claire is a five year old female gundog who was abandoned in Ibaragi, famous for delicious fermented Natto beans. Apparently it's also an area famous for duck and bird hunting, and many gundogs are abandoned there after the hunting season. Claire - who proves herself an excellent hunting dog judging by the way she singlemindedly sets and chases pigeons on our walkies, refusing treats and my entreaties to "come" - had just given birth when she was abandoned, her breasts were engorged. We are grateful to CACI, the volunteer Chiba gundog rescue center, who saved her from being put down. They travel around Ibaragi, Tochigi and Chiba saving pointers and setters abandoned by irresponsible hunters. They would like the Japanese government to oblige all dog owners to use microchips: if the owners were registered, the dogs could not be abandoned so easily and irresponsibly. We're going to have her microchip put in in a week or so: Yokohama City subsidizes 2000yen/ dog for microchips for a total of 750 dogs a year, so i hope we're not too late to benefit. (The cost is around 5000yen). Of course, we're registering in our name, and feel proud and lucky to do so! What a sweetie she is!

Friday, August 12, 2011

One man and his dog

It gets cool after five, so Tosh and Claire walked round the park and down by the tennis courts. Claire even got Tosh running: two tubsies together :P

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hanging out the washing

It's too hot to hang out the washing, says Claire, and goes back to the air-conditioned room leaving me with the chores!
At first she's out with me on the long lead, (see my feet bottom right), but once she realized it was all work and no play, she walked right on back inside!
Now there's a smile...or is it just gasping for air in the heat?