Toby: Growing up

Coming up on 5 months old, and my the milestones keep coming.

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He’s started to think about lifting his leg when he has a pee.  No photos, I’m giving him some privacy!

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He does the most amazing full on  downward-facing-dog yoga stretches.  Bum right back so the front legs are fully extended, and then right the way forward so the back toes are on the floor.

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He loves the sun, and is happy to sunbathe whenever he can.

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He’s starting to get braver getting in and out of the car, and has once jumped down unaided.  We’ve been to Paws every day this week, without any throwing up incidents.

There’s been 2 consecutive nights with no pees or poos on the floor, and no other incidents indoors.

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He’s exhausted after a full day at Paws, and voluntarily takes himself into his crate for a wee snooze.  However, when I put him in and close the door for a whole 10 minutes while I have a shower, we have howls of “You’ve abandoned me!  I’m all alone here, a poor starving orphan!  How could you do this to meeeeeeee!”

He’s been a bit subdued this week, but that’s just cos he is missing Rog and Chris, currently living it up on a boys’ birthday bash in Vegas.  They’ll be home soon, I promise!

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Toby Week 8: Licence to chill

Another visit to the dog-tors this week, to get the required kennel cough which is important when he’s in contact with many other dogs at Paws Doggy DayCare.  While there, the vet gave him a good checking over, his weight is 10kg which is spot on, and all other checks showed him to be in great shape.  But oh, he is really timid when there, and retreats for cuddles in Dad’s arms.

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Talking of which, it’s been Dog-fathers Day!  The pupsters gave him a card with a pug on it, and a notebook with a staffy on it.  Chris is all about the Elvis, looking forward to their upcoming Vegas boys trip.

He really enjoys going to doggy day care, and has been there 3 days a week.  Look at him ready with Big Sis for the morning school run.

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He is knackered afterwards!

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Saturday was a bit of a trial – he pooped in Dad’s office, then threw up in the car! Maybe a little bit of ginger biscuit before a car trip will help the queasiness.

Sundays are family fun days, and a bit of off lead training in Moira Demesne, while I tail walked with Minnie at Moira Juniors parkrun

But his favourite lap to curl up in is Chris.

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Toby week 7: Under my umberella, ella, ella

Well, Mister Toby is not a fan of the rain!

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I’m still taking him out frequently to consolidate the house-training, so this week’s heavy showers have seen me standing by the back door with an umbrella, trying to encourage him to come with me in the micro-climate.  He is smart though – he figured out he could find some shelter under the honeysuckle hedge by the deck, and made a dash for there.

Morning tussles are a little less frentetic, though we still have the odd growly ownership dispute over a nylabone.  (There are 2 nylabones, but the concept of having one each is a little sophisticated).

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Days spent at Paws Doggy Daycare are filled with fun, and the staff are really good at posting photos and videos of their furry pupils.

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A new bed – a Game of Thrones printed big cushion – feel free to insert your GOT pun here.tobygot

And time for a big-boy “Ruffwear” harness for travelling in the car – it’s an S, same size as Minnie’s, but it has a lot of adjusting straps which make the fit just right. I think green is definitely his colour!

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Toby Week 6: ….and 4 months old!

This week it’s been Master Toby’s 4 month-birthday.  We didn’t have any cake, but we did get to go out together to Moira Juniors parkrun.  I tailwalked with Minnie, and Roger and Toby marshalled near the turn point, before heading into the middle of the park to do some off lead work.  He’s grown so fast he’s now in the next size up fleece.  And happily travels in the boot of my car with Minnie.

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Afterwards we tucked into McMuffins, and both dogs sat beautifully in the pleasant sunshine.  This made the whole experience quite relaxing.

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House training is about 80% – there have been a few times where he has gone to the door and squeaked, but we haven’t been quick enough to take him outside.  But that’s our fault, not his.

He’s a familiar face now at Paws, and I love checking in on the webcams to see how he’s doing.  He certainly has plenty of playmates.

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Bed destruction continues – he may well be the unintended dog, but an unattended dog is really asking for trouble!  Tell me this is just a puppy phase….

 

Toby Week 5: The trouble with kibbles

On Monday we had a couple of kibbling problems.  At breakfast time, Toby is encouraged to sit and wait while his bowl is lowered to him.  But he does get excited at the prospect of food, and this time he jumped up and knocked the bowl out of Roger’s hand.  Of course the little bits of kibble flew all over the kitchen floor!  I had to shoo bog dogs out of the room while I got down on hands and knees to pick up every last bit.  Any stray piece would no doubt be scented by one or other, and much scratching and scrabbling would ensue.

Later that day, we took both dogs in the back of Roger’s car.  I sat in the middle with a dog on each side, to keep them calm.  Toby seemed unusally calm, subdued almost.  And indeed, a few miles down the road he was car sick, and a blob of semi -digested kibble reappeared.  Thankfully, my coat is washable!  (I hope you are not having your tea while reading this…..)

Travel sickness is not uncommon with puppies, as their balance regulating mechanisms in their ears is still forming.  we will try in different cars and different placements.

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Tuesday was a big day for a little pup – first day at school!  (Compulsory photo by the front door).

Well, Paws Doggy Day Care.  They were most impressed at his confidence and quickness to settle in, and at how well Minnie looks after him, making sure that no-one is giving him a hard time.  Paws has webcams, and I enjoyed checking up on him at various points to make sure he was having fun.  He certainly was, and seemed to particularly like playing with the other beagles, as well as the other youngsters.  He even managed to photobomb a picture of the bigger dogs.

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He’d been OK in the back of my car on Tuesday, but on Wednesday morning our route was diverted, and after a more twisty windy road the car sickness was back.  We will have to time any journies to allow for at least a few hours between feeding and travel.

He seems to love his schooldays, and is knackered when he gets home.

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Farewell Peppa Pig toy, and also squeaky zebra, but hello new chewy ring!

And new bigger collar as well.

 

Toby Week 4: Meeting and greeting

This week we’ve really started to get a daily routine.  If we get up around 5.30 we can usually catch him before he needs to pee/poo, which is a big plus in toilet training.  Minnie usually gets a bit of a lie in before she gets up around 7, and which point we have mad half-hour, fighting over toys, growling and tumbling.  Out for pees, breakfast, out for pees, bit of play, out for pees, sleep bye-byes, out for pees……and repeat.

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Friday was a big day – second injection! I was away, but Rog took him in the back of my car, where he squeaked and squawked all the way to the vets.  He has put on a whole 2 kilos in 2 weeks!  (previous weight was 5.4 kilos, so that’s a 37% increase). The vet was very impressed with how he is doing, and he was very well behaved getting jabs and flea treatment.  But he does need constant supervision, otherwise a bed may be destroyed….

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On Sunday he got to come with us to junior parkrun.  Minnie was coming too, and having them both in the back of the car seemed to calm and reassure him, and there was no squeaking or complaining.  Once there, he was very happy to be met and petted by his adoring public.  I was tail-walking with Mnnie, so Rog took Toby into the centre of the park, and did some off-lead recall work, which he excelled at.

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So now that he’s had his jabs, he’ll be able to go to doggy daycare, which will make working life a bit simpler for us both.

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Toby Week 3: All The Things

It’s been a week of buying stuff for the littlest member of the household.

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As he is sleeping in the “futility room”, we bought a blackout roller blind to keep it nice and dark at night, as well as a bit warmer.  This necessitated looking for a doorstop to prevent the blind crashing into the wall should the wind catch the back door.  But I was worried that a sticky out springy one would be a chewing temptation – as he’s already had an operation to remove something he chewed I didn’t want to take any chances.  I did consider positioning such a doorstop up high, though!

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We cleaned out the outdoor run, and lifted the old wooden kennel, only to be horrified by the crud that had gathered underneath.  So a new kennel was required.

We chose one from Ecoflex, which is made from reclaimed and recycled materials, and is much cosier than the old wooden one.

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At the minute they are on 2 different dog foods, so we upgraded the food storage boxes, and also treated Minnie to a new dog bowl, again an environmentally friendly one.  Toby is fed 3 times a day, and Miinnie gets fed at the same times.

Crate training has begun – just small sessions, like 10 minutes while I have a shower, or nip to the shops.  It’s absolutely charming when a puppy crawls into your arms to go sleepy bye-byes, but I don’t want that to become the only way he will go to sleep.  So whenever he makes that grizzly “I want to sleep now” noise, I pop hin into the crate without any great fussing.

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He loves the sun, likes nothing better than getting into the garden, finding the sunniest spot, and just sitting.  Or exploring new things like cobwebs.

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I can’t believe how fast he is growing!  tobypurple - Copy

His little purple fleece now won’t fit over his head, and as he fills out I can see more of the pale gold markings coming through – technically he’s what they call “lemon and white”.

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Fighting over toys continues, poor Peppa Pig has no ears left!  But they do snuggle up together at times.

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Week 2: Toby-wan-kenobi

Week 2 with Toby the beagle pup.

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He is growing so fast! Already the purple fleece he wears at night to keep warm is a little too snug, and taking it off a wriggling squirming bundle is an art form.  The collar has been let out a notch too.  He loves his grub, and is still being fed 3 times a day.  We’ve switched Minnie’s feeding times to match, and keep an eye on them as they are eating to watch out for growling or food guarding.

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The play fighting continues: sometimes it’s what I call the War of Jenkins Ear, other times it can be over a toy.  One of Toby’s faves is a squeaky Peppa Pig, which technically Minnie won as a prize about a year ago.  Now, she’s never really shown any interest in toys…..except when someone else wants them.  The fighting takes place under the kitchen table, or under my desk, and I hope everyones’ ears survive this phase intact.  Even mine, for the sharp beagle “play with me!” bark is VERY shrill.

 

We paid a vist to the dog-tor, to have a health check, get microchipped, and see when the next injections are due. I didn’t realise that different vets use different brands, and of course the first set he’d been given were not used by our local people.  So we’ve had to start again.  Microchipping is essential, but it is quite a nasty jag for the dog. And he got a worming tablet.  This has to be done monthly until they are 6 months old.

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Now, you know you’ve got a seriously cute dog when even the vet’s receptionist rushes round from behind her desk to take a photo, and put it on their Facebook page immediately!

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He wasn’t too impressed with being in the back of my car, which has a proper dog guard, or being on a lead, but it’s important to get him used to different situations and experiences at a young age.

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Toilet training is going very well, and he has a special pooping place in the garden.  I remarked that he was top of the pooping league, and my husband offered “Top of the Plops”

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It’s been Star Wars day  –  May the 4th be with you.  This year it fell on a parkrun day, so needless to say I’ve been planning costumes for me and Minnie for months.  She was originally to have been Chew-barker, but after a trip to the groomers she’s currently resembling a shorn lamb, and so Bark Vadar it was.  Toby is too young to participate just yet, but I did enjoy recreating the opening scenes, with “help me Toby-wan-kenobi, you’re my only hope”.  My son appreciated this joke! (Hi Harry  *waves*, your puppy snuggles await!).

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Toby: Week 1

Well, we have a new addition to the family!

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Despite the fact that my husband has been angling for another dog for some time, and I’ve resisted strongly, this was the Unintended Dog. A friend of mine got Toby about a month ago, and I instantly worried about how she would be able to cope with him.  He’d had a tough enough start in life, having swallowed a baby’s dummy and had to have an operation.  So the first time I actually met him he had a wee buster cone on, to protect the stitches on his tummy.

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As he got bigger and stronger, he was proving too much of a handful for my friend, not helped by the fact that she couldn’t let him outside.  So all his toilet training was being done indoors  with puppy pads. Fast forward to the Thursday before  Good Friday. I got a phone call, saying that she realised he was going to be too boisterous for her, and would I be prepared to take him on. A quick discussion with husband (whose reaction was clappy hands and Oh yes! Oh yes!) and we agreed to have him for a trial run over the Easter weekend.  An important factor was, how would Minnie react?

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So on Easter Saturday lunchtime, we picked him up with his bed and crate and toys, and took him home.  My husband was instantly besotted, and created a special facebook photo album for the name he gave him: Tobias Albus Regis von Thunder.  The naming of dogs is an important thing, don’t you know!

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Full credit to Minnie, she was brilliant with him, particularly in putting him in his place when his puppy boisterousness gets a little too exuberant.

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We were blessed with fantastic weather over the holidays, and I was off work for a few days too, so we were able to spend loads of time out in the garden. This was obviously Toby’s first experience of grass, and after a few tentative sniffs, he was soon enjoying playing zoomies with Minnie all round the place.

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For his first night, we left him in his crate, but this proved rather messy in the morning.  So we then tried leaving him an his familiar bed but in the utility room, with some puppy pads about.  On the next morning, he seemed a bit shivery, so he’s now trying a cute purple fleecy coat to wear as pyjamas.  He settles quickly, and sleeps without too much noise until we get up at around 6.

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Puppy teeth are like needles, and we both have hands that bear the scars.  We are working on getting him to chew appropriate things, ie not human flesh.  Minnie is teaching him not to chew on her ears, either!

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Toilet training has been pretty good – we are looking out for the sniffing around signs, and what I call the “John Wayne” walk, which preceeds a poo.  He’s been finding his favourite spot in the garden to perform, and get lots of praise when he does.  Accidents have been few.

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Other training has been exceptional!  He is one smart cookie.  He learned “sit” on the first day, comes when he’s called, and is chasing and fetching toys.

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So, Week One verdict – better than expected.  No destroyed shoes or scarves, no dashes to the vet, and no regrets.

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parkrun tourism: Ardgillan

Event # 54 parkrun # 224

Being the 14th birthday of parkrun UK, it was International parkrun day!  Last year I’d had the pleasure of joining a whole rake of UK parkrun tourists at Bushy Dublin (and producing a bottle of Bushmills for anyone who had “double Bushy-ed”).  But there were no obvious plans for this year’s get together.

However, the parkrun legend that is Nicola had hinted she might be at Ardgillan, just north of Dublin, and when local toruist Ben said he’d be heading there, I decided to join him at what was my 2nd closest NENDY.

Access:

This is an easy get-to for Norn Irn tourists.  Junction 6 on the M1, and it’s clearly marked with brown signs from there.  The Applgreen makes a handy stop for wee-wees and leg stretches, and make sure you have some euro coins for the Boyne Bridge toll. (é1.90 each way at time of writing)

Facilities:

Ardillan Castle is set in gorgeous surrounds, and is well appointed with car parking.  There is a large park as you enter the estate, and a smaller one closer to the start. 

There are cute loos on the edge of the castle, and a cafe that allows dogs for aferwards. Oh, and stunning sea views.  What more could you ask!

Course:

It’s a toughie!  Staring at the castle, it follows a gentle downwards track before 2 loops through forest, which have an upward undulating section, followed by a final uphill 300 m.

Even Minnie, my hill-getter-upper, was looking at me at this stage and going “you cannot be serious!”

Each km is well marked.

The surface is mostly gravel, with a few forest trails.  But those views!

Crowd:

There aren’t big numbers here, just over 50 on my visit, and that’s typical.  There’s a very relaxed feel to the pre-run brief, though we did get a shout out to Nicola doing her 400th run!

  For me, as a running-with-dog person, this was perfect.  The starting crowd thins out pretty quickly, and I cen let Minnie do her bit without worrying about tripping up or getting in the way of others.

 

Gear:

My darling husband had given me an early birthday present of bone-conduction earphones. Road races in NI are becoming more strict about using earphones while running, but these kind are acceptable as you can still hear what’s going on around you, cars, instrcutions from marshalls etc.  They were fab.

Strangely Approproiate Song On Shuffle:

I really enjoyed having music to accompany my run on this clear crisp Autumn morning, and my Eurovision soundtrack brought many smiles to my face. But the Dixie Chicks version of “Some Days You Gotta Dance” summed up my mood.

Time:

I was aiming for sub-30 and managed it.  I do hope I can come back some time to  try and knock off a few seconds!

All My parkruns:

NI (and other) parkruns: summary list