Monday, May 30, 2016

Manifesting Setters

I'm really happy with a horoscope I read via Facebook, and it really expresses how I feel with my life and the dogs right now:
"I’ve got what I need to work with. I am lacking nothing. I’ve got raw materials in abundance. I’ve got diamonds in the ruff for days.

I welcome the discipline it takes to make these materials into my masterpieces. I am grateful for the creative collaborators that keep me honest and expansive. I am humbled by the adventures that they take me on and am made better for the journey.

Love is my true wealth.

I focus on doing more of what I truly love while I work. I do more than just talk about what I’d love to do. I do what I love to do and talk about it after the fact. I don’t waste energy wishing. I spend energy manifesting."
Source: Chani Nicholas Astrological Blog 
Photos by KyouSK at Yadoriki Fureai Dog Run

Saturday, May 28, 2016

English Setter Learning

Nobunaga learned about the joy of paddling from Claire, and now it's his turn to teach Sherlock...who dislikes getting his feet wet, jumping blithely across the stream rather than jumping in, ignoring the blissful opportunity to cool down and have a wee drink.
A learning opportunity!
...So first of all, the two of us showed him it's safe and fun: come on, join us in the stream, it's okay...but he still couldn't decide to follow suit...
so I got back up on the ledge to encourage him from the safety of dry land, and act as a bridge to the new experience: back legs are safe, belly on Mummy's lap, and front feet gently placed in the stream. Praising and talking to Nobu there for a while, who is engaging in the process and peer teaching too, to give Sherlock a little time to get used to the feel of water and understand it's okay :) 
This is fun, he begins to Nobu wanders around and off to show him the aim of the whole exercise...
Now he feels comfy, I gently put his back legs in too...
Again, soothing and calming so he gets used to the feel...then it's time for me to take off my shoes, he's ready to wait in the water, and off we go paddling together...this, to my mind, is the true meaning of doggie training: learning by experience in a safe and warm, welcoming environment of peer example and positive teacher guidance...taking your time to integrate experience and confidently put it to use. Just like humans, of course...after all, we are all just animals on mother earth, nothing so special about us humans...
Photos by KyouSK at Yadoriki Fureai Dog Run.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

One Piece Setter

Off to the doctor this morning, just finished a course of heavy antibiotics for cystitis, but completely zonked by the incredibly heavy meds. Not sure I like the clinic, the doctor did not explain the severity or not of the situation or why he chose such heavy antibiotics, nor did he warn me of side-effects and give me unlike my wonderful vet, Koyamasensei, I wish I were Claire. I'm in two minds to just not go, but I guess I'll give it another try... 
On a different note, I was at a workshop yesterday about learning, and to make the point about the difference between learning and training, the presenter used a slide of a sitting dog before her finger-wagging owner for training. It seems such an outdated understanding of animal intelligence...on the contrary, dogs like humans have individual personalities with aptitudes, preferences and inclinations, which are simply not recognized in this stereotypical view. 

I would say dog training is very much the same as human training: it is indeed a learning situation, in that you are offering the dog a new scenario, they choose to explore it or not, ruminate on it later, and if so inclined, actively engage with the make it their own. Dogs too explore the new materials together with a trusted and respected mentor, be it a peer (some dogs learn well from peers and some are natural teachers) or their teacher/handler, and you can tell which dogs are gifted and enjoy things, and which would best let be. No so-called training or treats in the world can get my Nobu excited about a ball, dog training is not about blind obedience to a rote skill under pressure. My babies are wonderful students who love exploring their environment, and learn actively. 
Although I did point this out to the speaker, I had no time to expand on my reasons for disliking the slide, as I had to go off and train/offer a positive learning environment to my university students...
Photos by Lelantos at Miruphony+Dog in Nasu. The hats were kindly lent to me by a local shetland sheepdog group: check out their blog. See how the shetland babies wear their hats , and scroll down for some secret snaps of Nobu and Claire in costume! Thank you Karin mama, Mugi and Kina mama, great to meet you! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Setter on the Sofa

There's the sofa, and there's the armchair, and Mummy gets the kitchen chair...
 Who could deny such bliss?
Photos by Lelantos

Monday, May 23, 2016

Walkies in the Shade

Sherlock's beginning to get the hang of walkies with three dogs, as is Mummy. It seems he's been trained to switch left and right checking for scents but keeping close to his master, so he can get under your feet sometimes, he's that close. It's almost like he would be happier off the leash and still not go anywhere too far. I'll need to check it out in the dog run, once his stitches are out and I'm personally getting better after this unusual bout of cystitis and the heavy antibiotics I finally had to resort to to (hopefully) get things under control...too woozy for words...and drinking cinnamon, clove and ginger tea and other herb teas by the gallon.
Photos by Lelantos

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Mallow tea

 When Nobunaga first came to us five odd years ago, I chose his name based on the mood of his picture from the pound, blue and soothing, sweet and magic...Mallow...
He soon developed a happy swagger, and the name had to be changed to what it is now, Samurai Lord, Nobunaga...but sometimes, halfway up the stairs, he shows moments of vulnerable sweetness so fleeting it reminds me of Mallow...

Photos of Nobunaga by Lelantos

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Family Jewels

The final hurdle when adopting a dog from the pound: first there's deworming, then innoculations, flea and tick removal, followed by rabies shots, tax and registration, microchipping, and finally, desexing.
This requires full anaesthesia, a great strain on the system: no food after 2100hours, and no water after 2400 in preparation for early afternoon next day. A shot of antibiotics, and then another, woozy sleepy fuzzy wuzzy time as the cut is performed and the cherries body functions slowly recover in the wake up after the operation, thirst and hunger are slaked in small steps so as not to overburden the system, and peewees in the garden help clean out the medication...the family jewels are gone, and the family has a new jewel for life.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A woman's lap

Sherlock sleeping so peacefully, head on my lap...endearing...
 I found a wonderful wee poem on the web, written by a gifted young poetess, Fah
"It ignites my soul to know there is so much to feel and so much time to do it, all of eternity sits on my lap and asks me for no more than my attention."
Photos by Lelantos

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friendly English Setters

Setters are such friendly beings...admittedly Claire was a shy thing when she first came, and would even get vociferous at an invasive buttsniff, but lately she'll gambol and skip when some of her favorite friends show up on the horizon. Sherlock seems to enjoy meeting every new friend, which is perhaps the reason it has been such a smooth integration into the pack, Nobunaga also being a friendly and easy-going type. 
Nobu and Sherlock's first introductions were haphazard the night he came, somehow occurring in the tiny space between the kitchen table and the wall, among the legs of me and Rie Kaneko, CACI Ceo as we chatted. This was mainly my fault, blithely trusting Nobu to be the genius he is with other dogs, and letting Sherlock out of his cage too soon as it were. She was trying to explain to me about how to go about it safely, there being difficulties if the male dogs go at each other in some dominance rivalry, but fortunately there was no need to worry. To be honest I was more nervous previously about how Claire would accept Chiaro di Luna, and pleasantly surprised by their complete lack of tension. As for Sherlock, I had to walk him separately a couple of times because he simply didn't have the stamina to keep up with Claire and Nobunaga initially, but now the threesome set is absolutely no problem. 
I admit it takes some juggling of leashes and focus to cope with three dogs, and when beagle Bell's mum offered to take Sherlock on one of our initial walks, I was much obliged. Now we meet around here and there often, enjoying a wee chat: she has taken quite a shine to Sherlock.
Sherlock has decided Claire is his lady, and sprinkles her liberally with his pee when she settles for a wee of her own in the garden. The awful thing is, she doesn't seem to mind...I have to keep an eye out and wipe it off...methinks the whole house doth smell of Sherlock!
Photos by Lelantos

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Setter Ochaken Sherlock

When I got home from walkies I found a bag hanging on the gate with new toys for Sherlock...thank you! These are ever so cute, and spitting image! 
It's getting so hot, the shade is welcome, and also visually so inviting. The dogs enjoy lazily hunting...I'm a little tired today, so I dropped Sherlock's leash, and in my rush to run after him I dropped Claire's: she was off like a bullet, with Sherlock in her wake, and Mummy racing after them calling at what became an ever more frantic high pitched wail as we dashed along the side of the baseball field and neared the copse along the road. 
Claire headed off at the gate, rounding back into the park and slowing to wait for me. Meanwhile Sherlock actually headed out onto the road, but fortunately just as my heart sank, he stopped and turned back into the park to come to a halt at my feet, so that I could pick up the leash and go with him to join Claire, Nobu trailing along in my wake observing the drama. While we all calmed down over a drink of water, Nobu decided it was his turn to play and jumped up on me, play-biting the leash and the water bottle and me in turn. I told him to stop shortly, no fun being play-bitten and gripped around my bare legs, those doggie nails, although clipped and buffed from walkies, are somewhat painful. Best to wear jeans on walkies, I keep forgetting!
Photos by Lelantos

Monday, May 9, 2016

Dandy Nobunaga

Things have been so busy lately with Sherlock, I haven't been posting the pics from our holiday at Pension Olive in Nasu. Here is Nobunaga having fun in the beatiful dog run.
Meanwhile back here it was a busy day at my wonderful vet, Koyama sensei. So much to be done: Sherlock got his rabies shot (just over a month since he had his vaccinations) and a microchip implant. It takes about a month for the microchip to register and send a confirmation postcard.
Then I had to buy the heartworm meds for the three furbabies: we tested Sherlock a while back and he's on the meds already, but Nobu and Claire needed a bloodtest and weight check for the meds.
Both are thankfully clear of heartworm, so it's regular meds through summer at the end of the month until November. Then finally we set a date for the big C, which Koyama-sensei says should be sooner than later in light of the marking...
So it's happening next week, I'll be driving Sherlock over for 1145 and then picking him up around 1500 so he doesn't have to spend any time in a cage, he barks so fearfully with anxiety. Once all that's done, things will surely settle down! Nobunaga got over it all so well, don't worry, he says! All will be well!
Photos by Lelantos