The final piece of the puzzle

The lead.

Connection between you and your dog.

The guide to let them know where you are going and where they should be.

The rope that lets them walk you. 
The last one is where we are at. The lead remains the final piece of the puzzle. Nala is calm, loving and like a crazy beast when she gets on her lead. 

Usually I think dogs don’t get things because people don’t train hard enough. They don’t stay focussed. I have tried so hard, countless hours, countless techniques. Still Nala leads the walk. 

I shall be trying another thing this week, the figure of 8 lead. 

You can see it here

Next update – the battle for lead walking, a new tool…

A gift for you


Nala’s latest love is finding and retrieving dead dog fish. 

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Not strictly true. 

I think in this picture she is saying ‘I am so good to you, and yet you don’t seem grateful’.

This week I have been struck again by how wonderful it is to have a dog. The latest reason is the sense of community from other dog walkers. I chatted to three different groups of people at the pub on Sunday – we would have had nothing to talk about if Nala hadn’t tried to climb under their tables to try to eat the chips that had fallen down there. 

Love that dog. 

A relief

Forgive the mess in this picture, Nala’s bedroom is being renovated. I wish I were kidding…

Actually it’s a weird room off of our kitchen that leads to the garden. When we bought our house the surveyor said ‘pull it down’.

Their exact words.

We know an amazing builder who said we could fix it. Hooray! Reduce, reuse, recycle probably isn’t supposed to apply to your house but it still seems like the thing to do.

The title of this post, relief, is down to my puppy and my weekend. Nala met a delightful 14 month old this weekend and was pretty much perfect.

The baby shuffled on the floor, Nala watched.

The baby laughed and shouted, Nala glanced and carried on her work on a bone.

The baby screamed, Nala checked everyone was ok and just chilled.

This was the relief of all reliefs. I could not be happier. Weirdly I’m not worried about the baby being born, lack of sleep etc at all, I just worry about Nala’s reaction. Test 1 passed with flying colours.

Now let’s get her to walk beside the buggy…

A week of YouTube – Dogs 101

7 years ago I was desperate to get a dog. Well, actually for about 25 years I was desperate for a dog, but 7 years ago I felt I could actually get one. We lived in Manchester and I wanted a big dog to live in my house, frighten burglars and play chase with me. 

We kept getting close to getting a dog. Staffies, huskies, boxers. I accidentally ended up on a waiting list for a Greater Swiss Mountain dog. This would have been bad for the dog and I had I gone through with it. Our next home was a 1 bed flat in Sussex, there was no room for us let alone a dog, Greater or otherwise. 

I decided I needed to wait and my friend said to me, from your list it sounds like you need a Vizsla. I had never heard of this dog. I did a YouTube search and ended up on the Dogs 101 page. I have since watched this video about 50 times. 

We now own a Vizsla and couldn’t be happier. 

Thank you dogs 101 for your explaination, whimsical music and swooshing sound effects. You were right, we love our Vizsla. 

The Nala – who is training who


I’ve finally got round to downloading the Audio book of ‘let my people surf‘ by Yvon Chouinard. Patagonia is one of my most admired brands so I’m really looking forward to the book. I’m only 1 chapter in and already loving it.

Yvon talks about his early life and his hawk training. Yes, actual hawk training (I may want to be him a little bit…)

When a 15 year old has to trap a wild Goshawk, stay up all night with her until the bird develops enough trust to fall asleep on his fist and then train the proud bird using only positive reenforcement, the Zen master would have to ask who is training who here.

Yvon Chouinard

This is how I feel about Nala and her training. I always considered myself a calm person (as long as we don’t watch an Arsenal match together after a couple of coffees you will believe me). The following is on the Hungarian Vizsla Wikipedia page:

…must be trained gently and without harsh commands or strong physical correction, as they have sensitive temperaments and can be easily damaged if trained too harshly. However the owner must show quiet authority in training, otherwise the dog is likely to take over the training session.

No pressure then.

Be calm but firm. In control but kind.

Or you may break your dog permanently…

Nala has been a wonderful addition to our family in so many ways. One of the biggest bonuses is that because positive reenforcement is the only way to go with the breed I have to find a calm head space before working with Nala. After months of owning Nala I find myself in a calmer head space in general.

We are working on Nala’s training, and in the best possible way she is allowing us to work on training ourselves at the same time.