Jul 16
Push-Up Practice
icon1 Paul | icon4 07 16th, 2017| icon34 Comments »

For a while now Susan’s been using a daily video diary on Facebook to drive improvements in her push-ups and pull-ups. Initially this was a strictly no-Beagle affair; on the rare occasions that Beanie & Biggles weren’t snoring in the lounge or bedroom, they were explicitly forbidden from barging into her video sessions.

As her confidence has grown and her abilities expanded, the Beagle exclusion policy has been less strictly enforced. In the following example Beanie – who is perhaps the most potentially disruptive of our Beagles – was allowed to participate..

The above clip displays some classic Beanie behavior. The second you get down on the floor at her level, she feels the need to come over for a bit of a cuddle and a sniff. In due course she wanders off to sniff other things, then goes to the rug to do some cute stuff – a face rub, a Beagle commando crawl – and then, quite suddenly, the chin hits the floor and she’s bored. Had the camera kept rolling we might have seen another key Beanie behavioral characteristic, resulting in Susan gaining a coating of little white Beanie pubes on the calves of her leggings.

Some days on from that clip the no-Beagle policy wasn’t merely relaxed – it was completely reversed, and Beanie & Biggles actually got to make their own push-up video:

As you can see – or rather hear – from clip, Biggles considers himself to be very technically adept, always wanting to go hands-on (or more accurately, bum-and-paws-on) with anything electronic or mechanical. In the van, he’s the Beagle most likely to beep the horn or toggle the central locking switch; he hogs the TV remote control, often using his bum to change channels, and now in the above vid he tries to make some adjustments to the camera just as filming starts. At least he does reasonably well at the push-ups, though Beanie as usual is faster and more self-assured, never feeling the need to throw in a roll-over to make extra sure she gets the biccie at the end of the exercise.

The idea of filming doggy push-ups seems to be gaining traction outside of Susan’s Facebook page now. I wonder just how far doggy calisthenics can go?

 

Jun 30
Out For a Duck!
icon1 Paul | icon4 06 30th, 2017| icon37 Comments »

Maybe it’s due to the time of year or the predominantly windy and wet weather we’ve had recently, but the beach has been mostly free of those tasty little birds that Beanie so likes to chase after. This has made my furry personal trainer less inclined to surprise me by doubling the length of my runs, or by giving me unplanned sprint sessions (preferably after leg day at the gym), but earlier this week she did come very close to getting me swimming in the sea.

The main inspiration for this change in training focus was a little family of ducks. They were bobbing about on the water about twenty metres off the shore, and for some reason Beanie felt the urge to go after one. I have no idea why she decided that a distant floating duck was a better target than any of the obese, foolishly brave seagulls on the beach, but regardless it was duck that was on the menu, not seagull.

She tore into the water heading straight at the group of quackers, and without knowing what was going on (and probably not caring anyway) Biggles followed her. Within a couple of seconds the water was deep enough that Beanie had to switch to swim mode, but that didn’t deter her one bit. As it happened I had applied their ritual spot-on flea treatment the previous day, so I guess now was a really good time for full immersion in that protection-shortening seawater.

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I stayed on the shore, happy to stop running and just watch the proceedings; I was very confident that soon either the ducks would take off, or Beanie would see the impossibility of the task she’d set herself. Yep, any second now there’d be two bedraggled Beagles heading back to shore. Any second now. Of course, that’s not what happened.

The ducks saw the Beanster slowly closing on them, but they didn’t panic, they just calmly turned and headed further out to sea. Beanie was now twenty metres off the shore – where the ducks had been at the start of the chase – and it was clear she had no intention of giving up. Biggles was just a few metres behind her,  but he was having second thoughts about this whole swimming thing. With his big paws and powerful legs he’s actually a strong swimmer, but he’s not all that keen on having water up near his face. I called to him (to them both actually, but I knew Beanie would ignore me) and got the reaction I wanted; he turned around and began heading back to the shore. “Well at least I’ll soon have one of them back” I thought. But even that turned out to be a false assumption.

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Beanie resolutely continued her pursuit of the ducks, and she was doing well enough to keep the gap between her and her prey from widening. It was impressive, but I really just wanted her to turn back like Biggles. His Lordship was now just ten meters from the shore and close to getting his paws back on something solid, but he was starting to doubt his decision to leave Beanie. He turned sideways in the water for a second or two as though torn between my outstretched hand full of chicken, and THE most fun sister in the world, ever. Then, to my surprise and dismay, he set off after Beanie again. She was now 30 metres out, and still chugging away like a little train after those pesky ducks.

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Thirty-five metres. Forty metres. This was getting serious. The tide was incoming – I’m always careful to make sure that’s the case when I let them offlead by the sea – but still, Beanie was getting a long way out and the next stop was twenty miles away on the Isle of Arran. Time for intervention! I pulled the headphones out of my ears and started taking off the armband that holds my mobile phone. Fortunately before my swimming preparations got any more advanced, the ducks finally got spooked and took to the air. Even then Beanie kept after them for a moment before she gave up the chase and headed inland. I was seriously relieved to see her coming back, but not half as relieved as Biggles. As soon as his feet made contact with the still submerged sand he bounded out of the water, waited impatiently for his sister to arrive, then gave her a very vocal dressing-down.

For my part, I just attached their leads, gave them chicken, and got thoroughly sprayed by sand and sea as they shook themselves off. Pesky Ducks! Almost as bad as sheep. And little birds. And squirrels. But not rabbits, because the traditional prey of the Beagle is something both our hounds are afraid of:)

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Jun 18

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Now that the recent monsoons have abated I can get down to the task of ripping out one of the dodgy boards in our deck and replacing it with a fresh, strong plank that sticks out like a sore thumb.

That dodgy board isn’t the only reason why care is required when traversing the deck however. The other reason is the Biggly Boy, who has recently decided that pooing on grass is passe and that the fashionable Beagle should always favor seasoned wood.

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He’s already caught me out, giving me a squelchy “uugghh!” moment when I nipped out late at night to put the wheelie bin out for collection. The flipside of this is that de-pooing the lawn prior to a mowing session is now a much easier process. On balance however I’d have to say that slicing and dicing a bottom-sausage in the mower is preferable to the foot squelch scenario; the smell may be more intense, but it passes quickly and doesn’t require any lengthy cleanup.

Fortunately Beanie hasn’t shown any interest in changing her dumping habits. Instead, she’s been putting her efforts into recognizing her toys by name. I can now tell her to go get “Foxy” and be fairly confident of getting a play session with her favorite fox-styled tug toy. Calling for “Squeak and crinkle” will nearly always result in the appearance of Foxy’s battered, partially dismembered predecessor who no longer squeaks but can still crinkle like a champ. Then there’s “Slipper”, “Loofa-Doggy” and of course “Bone”. I know of other dogs who’ve acquired this ability but I think it’s cool that Beanie can now do it too, and all without any (intentional) training.

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Unfortunately it seems that simple “ball” – despite being the toy we’ve had the most play sessions with over the years – just doesn’t seem to have made it onto Beanie’s list of known toy names. Either that, or “ball” just can’t compete with the fun potential of “Mr Squirrel”.

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Beanie! Go get your ball!

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OK, well Mr Squirrel will have to do then :)

 

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