Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jenny's Snuggle Bed

Not a new idea, I'm very sure, about snuggle beds (aka sleeping bags) for dogs. Certainly new for me to make this myself. It occurred to me how to put the pieces together so that the cover is the right side up and not all messed up when sewn together. I made a super tiny sample before stitching the actual pieces together. There's nothing worse than unpicking sewn stitches.

There is obviously room for improvement, I am thinking of making a new one with a raised edge at the back so that she won't slip backwards. You can see in the first image how she is slipping down if she doesn't go under the cover.

Jenny trying out her new 50" snuggle bed

The cover is made with fleece on the inside

Handle for carrying

Tufting with fabric buttons

Friday, November 28, 2014


Jenny curls up to sleep on her "blankie"

Wow, we have from spring-like to almost sub-Artic temperatures within this week! With the windchill factor, it feels like -4°C instead of 2°C. I know it's even colder in some parts of the world but hey, it's still pretty darn cold to me!!

Jenny agrees fully with me, I'm sure. She definitely prefers to stay indoors, curled like a cooked shrimp on her "blankie", when it rains or when the temperature dips below "normal-for-humans-like-me".  During this morning's walk, we met Schröder, a 12-year-old black Dachshund-Cocker mix and Jenny had a few minutes of playtime with him, enough for both of us dog owners to forget about the cold while watching them fool around. Schröder announced most clearly when he had enough from the youngster.

No, I don't put a sweater or cape or those doggy outfits on Jenny. I'm not keen on those outfits for our pets. It's not natural for dogs to wear a sweater. They are born with their own "sweaters" which is called fur (except for the, say, Mexican Hairless, which I can fully understand their owners putting on a warm outfit when it's too cold for the Mexican Hairless to deal with). Their resistance to the cold is affected when we make them wear the "unnatural sweaters". Dogs in the wild will probably have a good laugh at our dogs in the doggy-outfits if they ever saw our dogs in suits.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rose Among Thorns...

No, Jenny's not getting married! It's a curtain...
Oh boy, it's been another couple of months since I blogged about Jenny, I'm terribly busy with endless home projects. One of which you can see in the image, it's the curtain that I sewed for our newly bought used caravan. Yup, that project is eating up my time...

Recently at our weekly dog obedience class, I realised that Jenny is the only female in the group. There are about six owners, me included, with eight dogs in our group. Anyway, three males got into a tiff and Jenny rushed to see what was happening.

Tonja, our trainer, later explained that by being the only bitch, Jenny ran to inspect the fight and was probably eyeing the strongest winning male for the possibility of fathering her off-springs. Naturally, she's not going to be getting any babies now or in the future. I do not intend to have her castrated at all.

So, yes, in a cartoony-way, one can imagine Jenny whipping out her smartphone and snapping pictures of the fight...paparazzi-Dackel...

None of us panicked when the three male dogs got into a tiff with each other. One owner gave a shout to break up the argument between the boys and they each walked away to their owners. Yes, definitely way cool from us dog owners.

Looking back at our first class, our dogs and we have come a long way. The first class was total chaos. Now, our dogs walk off-leash next to us - not formal heeling but within one to one-and-half meters in our vicinity - without any dog goofing around. Recall is also no problem. I'm the only who uses a whistle to recall my dog. The others prefer to simply call their dogs during recall. I like the whistle as I don't have to yell my head off plus it's a neutral "call" to the dogs. Whether I'm relaxed or panicked, the whistle does not give you away.

Right, more later! Have a great day and week!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Life-long training

Ever realised that it's a life-long training for our dogs even if you have gotten your dog to do what it's supposed to do? It doesn't mean that once your dog has learned to sit when given the command means training is over. We literally have to train the dog till the end of its days - ever have your dog give you that naughty glint and ignore your commands? Yes, that's what I mean with regular and life-long training as all dogs will try ever now and then to see if they can cut corners with us or even take the upper hand. Though, our dogs train us just as much as we them!

Watch Jenny do three roll-overs in the video before she takes the snack from my hand!

We go to a group training (dog training) once a week where there are five owners with six dogs (one lady has two dogs). Our group has been together since the beginning of this year. Classes are held in the woods and every two months or so, the trainer selects a new venue - though always in the woods. I have to say, from Jenny's reaction, she is just as enthused about meeting with her "classmates" as well as I do! It's always fun to watch how the dogs react with each other upon unloading from the cars and the progress we all make each week.

I can't say how long we will be with this group, I enjoy it thoroughly and realise that it's like going to kindergarten for my dog. She learns as much as I do by watching the other owners with their dogs and generally you learn how to read other dogs as well as your own better. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

It's been a long time...

...since I last blogged about my Dackel ("Dackel" means "Dachshund" in German in case you don't know yet). I have had a family emergency which made me literally dropped everything I was doing. In any case, Jenny wasn't neglected -  no, that will not happen. There will always be someone taking care of Jenny when I'm occupied with other urgent matters.

Jenny turned two this June and yes, she's maturing beautifully. She has a lovely character and personality. Well, she sure knows how to melt your heart, she has what the Germans call a "Dackelblick" - literally translated meaning, "Dachshund blick or look" - one can hardly say no to her when she gives you that gooey look. Which doesn't mean that she gets her way all the time! 

We have "curbed" her hunting instinct pretty well - it has been almost a year ago when her hunting instincts were jerked into action by the calls of the marmot while we were trekking in Kleinwalsertal (the German and Austrian alps). Luckily she was on leash and wasn't able to run after the marmots. 

I have spent the past year training her hard. Training her to be obedient and come upon recall. She walks off-leash quite well - considering she's a dachshund and not a golden retriever, I'm pretty happy with the results so far - and comes upon recall quite reliably.

We, i.e. Jenny and I, attend obedience class once a week. You can see how Jenny lights up the minute we pull into the parking lot - our obedience classes are held in the woods - she can't wait to get out of the car to meet her class buddies!

Jenny and her "Dackelblick"
how can one refuse her with that look?

Monday, February 3, 2014

How To Stay Healthy

Jenny at the beach in Denmark
Well, what's the best way to boost your dog's as well as your own health? The simplest way is to go for obedience class in the freezing temperatures - now, that's a sure way of keeping any

winter virus away from you.

This is the second winter where Jenny and I are attending obedience class and as before, the Arctic cold has hit northern Germany pretty hard this time of the year. Today's temperature was about 1°C. I can't complain about the class and I can safely speak for Jenny - ok, she can't voice her opinions really, I know - she enjoys meeting her classmates once a week. There are five of handlers, including me, with six dogs. Patricia has two dogs and works with both of them at the same time during class. Of course, in some obedience exercises, she has to hand one dog to our trainer, Tonja Kalski. 

It's a great mixture of handlers and dogs, from 10 month old Leo (the wildest and biggest of all, but has improved tremendously as Annette is consistently working with him - I have yet to find out what breed Leo is) to a 6 year old Paula (a Entlerbucher Mountain Dog) who belongs to Patricia. Patricia also has 2 year old Amy, a tricolour King Charles Cavalier, and Amy happens to be Jenny's best friend.

Buddy, a 2- year old Labrador Retriever, belongs to Jürgen and his wife - I forget her name, they come either together or separately to handle their dog. Buddy and Leo are great friends, they are similar in size. Jenny will chase them when they both play - being a Dachshund, she is basically "hunting" (giving chase) them.

Another young mixed breed is Rumus belongs to Nelli, I can't recall Rumus' age but is likely a young dog. Rumus is black and tan with longish fur. Not too large and he is pretty much the odd ball there - he doesn't really have a "best friend" as far as I can see. You see, Paula is a loner and perhaps she's out of the "playing" stage. She usually hangs around her owner and Rumus tries to fit into one of two groups (Jenny-Amy and Leo-Buddy).

Tonja's 8 year old Lana , a Hovowart, occasionally joins our class - she does keep an eye on our dogs and teaches them manners every now and then. Jenny adores Lana and is constantly trying to get her attention. When Lana does communicate with Jenny, I swear Jenny swoons with joy.

So, yeah, that's one way of boosting our immunity and health by working in the cold temperatures with our four-legged companions.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Forever A Family Member

Jenny in my husband's arms, she's not quite keen to go out in the rain...

Gosh, it's been a real long while since my last entry! Anyway, glad that we have a new year ahead of us and wish the same for anyone reading this blog.

One thing I like to advise anyone - and it's really a no-brainer - is that before we even think of adopting a puppy, we must consider what breed will suit us and our lifestyle. Why lifestyle too? Well, imagine if you are constantly jetting and can't fit a dog into your weekly or weekend program, why on earth do you want to adopt a dog in the first place? Is it because it's cute or the kids are pressuring you to get a dog with promises of walking, feeding, grooming the dog? If so, forget it, it - the promises from your kids - only lasts for a few weeks, then the puppy is all yours for the rest of his entire life. Well, let me point out to you, the puppy cuteness only lasts max. 3 months - yup, that's how long a puppy remains a puppy, as in looks and character. Thereafter you have an adolescent dog, awkward growth spurts, sudden stubbornness, the so-called puberty phase that you thought only kids have...before it matures into a dog at three years old.

Before Jenny joined, we had Sandy, a male Golden Retriever who lived to be over 15 years old. We had 15 very memorable years with Sandy. When my husband and our then young daughters (seven and five years old) ganged up together with exactly the above-mentioned promises that they will walk, feed, bathe and groom the dog, I finally relented. And yes, the puppy became solely mine within three months. See? I am speaking from my own personal experience. 

As I grew up practically with dogs - at one time, I showed and bred Dachshunds too - I decided on a Golden Retriever for the family. I last owned a Golden Retriever when I was studying in Florida. I bought this wonderful Golden Retriever in Florida and brought Royal back with me to Singapore when I returned home (I come from Singapore, in case you are wondering). Golden Retrievers are simply a delight to have when you have young children and want to introduce them to dogs. Goldies  are willing to obey and work, simply to please the owners.

After Sandy passed on, my husband and I both agreed on a Dachshund and Jenny joined us in late mid-August 2012. I needed to have a smaller breed that I can simply pick up in urgent situations, especially in its old age - I will talk about that in my latter blog updates - since I am mainly alone with Jenny and my husband travels pretty frequently for his business. I know that Dachshunds are active hunting dogs. The "active" part is what I need to get out more often, more walks in good or bad weather (no bad weather, just dressed wrong!!); I have to admit, I forgot the "hunting" part - the most important hard-wired genetics of a Dachshund. Plus a Dachshund is not a Goldie, Jenny has wonderful concentration but very short as a puppy. I wasn't used to that. Another thing is, it was 15 years ago since Sandy was a puppy! I had forgotten all about puppyhood and the training too. 

With the help of a trainer (that's another topic to go into next time), we developed the techniques to divert her hunting instincts plus hard work on my part to strengthen her recalling. Now, when off-leash she comes consistently when called -  I like to use a whistle to call her though she comes when called too. Of course, I have to time the recall, no use calling her right away when she meets her four-legged friends or has begin to sniff a specific spot.

Our holidays are almost always planned with our dog in mind. Sandy holidayed with us every year except for overseas flights which we couldn't take him along (and that wasn't very often either, I'd worry about his well-being the entire holiday) - he stayed then with my in-laws and later a friend who was a great dog-sitter. A dog is a family member for the entirety of his life and you are responsible for him, please don't forget that! Unlike children who grow up and leave home, a dog never leaves home without you.