Peanut Rehabilitation

Beanie’s recovery from her neck strain has been going very well, in fact at this point I’d say she’s currently at about 95% operational efficiency. This means she can once again raid cups, go mountaineering on the furniture, steal food off our plates and tear up mail, but she’s still a bit cautious about doing a full body shake sometimes and hasn’t yet given her brother’s tail a robust tugging. Her recovery is a mixed blessing to be honest. On the one hand it’s very nice to see her back to her naughty ways, but on the other hand we’ve just had a bout of full-on flu during which she was well enough to take advantage of our weakened state!

Ever gluttons for punishment, we’ve been working to restore that final 5% of Beanieness via massage and other means. Initially the massage was not particularly well received by the Beanster. She’s always been a bit suspicious of physical contact and usually the only time you can get a decent cuddle out of her is if you’ve spilt a bit of food on your clothes; a suckling Beanie is a compliant Beanie!


Though suspicious at first…


..Beanie has come to accept that massage is a good thing


Cranial massages are particularly good!


She’s even more accepting of plain old cuddles now!

Biggles was well up for massage right from the start of course. He doesn’t actually have an injury as such, but just try depriving him of an indulgent pampering session!


Is Biggles the reincarnation of a Roman emperor? Don’t you think there should be a slave popping food into his mouth right now?

In addition to the massage, our pups have also been having regular sessions with a  peanut. You might think that a peanut would only be good for one quick chomp, but the peanut we’ve been using is large, blue and inflatable. It’s similar to the “swiss” balance ball we’ve used in the past, but the longer peanut shape allows the dog to adopt a more natural stance.


During each three minute session each of our pups gets served half of their teatime meal on the peanut. Initially we steadied the peanut using our feet, but as Beanie & Biggles have become more adept at balancing, we’ve been letting it wobble about more to increase the challenge. As with humans this kind of exercise promotes better proprioception and will hopefully lessen the chances of future injuries. It’s also quite cute to watch!



Fitness, fun and training

Beanie and Biggles have had a lovely day today.

This morning we met up with Susan and Carol for a canicross training run in the park.



Then, after a nice lazy day basking in the sunlight while mum and dad did a few hours work we went out for our afternoon walk followed by a fantastic play session. We incorporated lots of games that behaviourist Heather Smith had taught us to teach Beanie and Biggles self-control. (Beanie and Biggles are getting on great now thanks to Heather’s help!). Our play sessions are all designed to be a combination of fun, control and physical conditioning to keep the pups safe and sound in all of the sports that they do.

A quick game of ‘fetch’ to warm up.


Three, two, one – GO! with tuggy as a reward.



The best bit – sit calmly until mum says go, chase the lure, catch it, tuggy, kill it then start all over.

gimme, gimme – lets play NOW!!!






And finally a workout on the gym ball. Check out Biggles – balancing without any help from me!





Happy pups!


Taming the Ferociraptor

Pheeewwww….things are starting to ease down a bit!

For anyone that hasn’t been following the saga, out of the blue Beanie (aka Ferociraptor) started attacking her brother. Behaviorist Heather Smith prescribed a NILIF regime for a couple of weeks. The dogs seem to be loving it (not sure if they’re supposed to), but it’s hard work for us! So far so good though. And certainly lots of added benefits from a behavior point of view.

Heather also showed us a game to teach the dogs self-control. Basically a frenzied game of tuggy then take the toy away and put the dog into a sit until it’s calm. Once calm the game can start again. The idea is the dog learns how to rapidly switch from a highly aroused state. Over time the game will become more and more exciting so the dog gradually learns to calm down from an increasing level of excitement.

This game is just what we needed to solve other problems too. We do canicross with the dogs. The idea is that they wear a pulling harness and run attached to us via a bungee line. Beanie and Biggles are both wonderful at it but the problem is they’re a bit too keen. They’ve gradually got more and more excited by it and are desperate to pull. It’d be fine if they were Huskies but their canine physio advised us to keep it in moderation as Beagles aren’t bred to pull. It’s good for them to do a little bit so we don’t want to stop it altogether. We’re working on putting pulling on command so we can control exactly how much pulling effort they put in. But the first step is to teach them to quickly switch out of hunt mode when required. The game will not only help with self-control, but the tuggy will work the opposite muscle groups to those used in canicross helping to keep their joints balanced and healthy.

The above video shows Beanie playing the tuggy game. We start out with the toy attached to a lunge line to increase the excitement – chase, catch, kill. Eventually we hope the game will get them to the level of excitement that we get on a hunt (they go into ‘hunt mode’ during canicross runs) and then we can practice calming down from that. There’s also a clip of Biggles demonstrating his balance ball work – some little routines on a gym ball to work their core and stabiliser muscles. It might look easy but watch Biggles legs shaking after just a few moments. It’s really working the core. He’s mostly balancing the ball himself – I’m just helping a little. Great conditioning to keep them safe in their doggy sports!

You’ll notice the horses in the background. Heather advised us not to let Beanie and Biggles play together off-lead for a couple of weeks. They’re clearly missing their chases. When Beanie went out into the garden the horses were galloping around the field having a fabulous time. She ran around the garden turning when they turned and moving in perfect harmony with them.