I did art! Could you vote?

Hey all!

I entered an art competition (for the first time in my life!!), it’s aimed at people with mental health issues. It was a ‘draw your demons’ competition, and I drew how my psychosis feels.

If anybody would like to vote, or just see my picture, click this link —>Β Demon of Psychosis

All votes are appreciated, thank you!

The happiest dogs & Mojo training

Toller and Mojo had their first walk together today, they LOVED it!

Toller’s fitness is doing well, although she still gets tired pretty quickly, she’s always running at FULL SPEED! So I’m not sure if her stamina’s still less or if it’s just because she’s so desperate to make up for lost time XD

Now that Mojo is bigger and can hold his own against full-throttle Tolly, they could enjoy some off lead time together. Here it is, in video and pics!

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He’s catching her in size!

They got tired quick XD

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And Mojo has been doing some wonderful training, that little dog makes my heart sing πŸ™‚

Yesterday we went into town, and even though we didn’t do much there were so many positives! We bumped into the same child’s toy that Sasha saw a few days ago, and hugely freaked out over. It was good to get Mojo training around it, and obviously he didn’t care.

Then I took him to the metal panel that Sasha was terrified of between 3-6 months old, and Mojo walked onto it like a champ, zero fear πŸ™‚

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Also, that’s the town centre behind us – he is still doing wonderful focus around distractions!

Walking under scaffolding πŸ™‚

And finally,Β YESTERDAY I started teaching Mojo ‘scratch’, so that I could transfer it to the scratch board and he could file his own front nails…ONE DAY later, and look!!

This dude’s such a champ ❀

A bad day turns good!

My sleep is so out of whack atm and I really can’t work out why!

I have to fight for every bit of sleep as my body constantly tells me I’m awake, I usually sleep for 4 hours, lay in bed refusing to wake up for an hour or so, then manage another few. I’m panicking about it triggering a manic episode, but so far I think I’m okay.

Last night I got six hours of very broken sleep, and I woke up in the MOST foul mood.

I was up for a few hours and had a cluster of half a dozen simple partial seizures, after which I felt exhausted. I went back to bed, slept a few extra hours, and woke up feeling *great*!

Damn it body, why can’t you ever just work? πŸ˜›

Feeling good, we walked the other three dogs and then headed out with Mojo to the pub!

Taking Mojo places is such a different experience to taking Sasha to busy places. With Sasha you must hugely plan ahead, be prepared to tell people to back away from her, and always be scouring ahead for things she may be afraid of. With Mojo you don’t have to worry; you get to enjoy him enjoying himself, and if by fluke anything did go wrong, he can be picked up!

He was SUPER at the pub πŸ™‚

Next door are the two aggressive Labs by the play park. Them and the Terrier were barking just after we arrived. We were on the other side of the wall to them, but the barking was still clearly audible. Guess who didn’t react to them AT ALL?! I was so damn impressed!

I managed to fish out my phone and catch some barking on video:

Mojo claimed the beer garden as his own and enjoyed bombing about.

As we ate he sat by me on the bench and, for a young Terrier puppy, showed amazingly good impulse control. He was rewarded every 5-20 seconds.

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He found lots of treasures (an old shoelace, a stick, and some litter!), and he offered a ton of sits! He didn’t have to be on lead once πŸ™‚

Apple crumble!

At some point a group of four adults and a very young toddler (I wouldn’t guess he was even 3 yet) came to the veranda where we were sat. They were loudly telling their kid about the “doggy” he would get to play with, and I was like FUCK THAT…what parent tells their toddler, who they’re letting walk significantly far ahead, to GO GREET AN UNKNOWN DOG?!?

Hell no.

So I scooped Mojo up, and we began gathering our drinks etc to go sit somewhere else, because they were clearly stoopid. The veranda is very small and them being there would have ruined the meal. Thankfully they weren’t eating, they’d climbed up to look at the view and left within a few minutes.

On our way back home we did a little confidence building in the play park. This thing spins! πŸ™‚

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Puppy reactivity & seaside trip!

Mojo is this awesome dog who has been a dream to socialise and train, other than one thing…

He HATES other dogs :/

This goes way beyond normal puppy unease, and is true fear. I can only imagine it’s due to his first home, as there was definitely at least one other dog in the house with him, and the dog/s were completely unsupervised (hence why he came to us, because he was having continuous accidents and things were been destroyed!).

Mojo is doing heaps better with other dogs after weeks of training, but at 15 weeks old he still can’t meet an unknown dog as he’s too scared.

If I know the dog won’t run over to him (maybe the other dog is on lead, or only interested in fetch) Mojo can be on the ground, and we will work on LAT, engage disengage, and general confidence boosting behaviour.

If there is a dog within about 8 feet, Mojo will climb onto my lap for safety. He might do little huffs, but usually he’s happy to sit and watch as I feed treats.

Anything closer than 4ft is in the danger zone. Mojo will back off my lap, growl, and try move away from the dog.

Previously he barked at all dogs, regardless of distance, and trembled. So progress has certainly been made. I can now carry him whilst other dogs are by my feet, and he will do engage disengage. It’s VERY rare he barks in my arms now, unless the other dog is reacting.

The main issue is that he’s 15 weeks old as of this Monday, and not met any strange dogs. I struggled with the idea of ‘throwing him in at the deep end’ and forcing him to meet dogs on walks before his socialisation window closed, but let’s be honest, flooding would just set him up for further failure and much future fear.

So I guess we’ll go slow and steady, and I’ll accept that he will most likely always be reactive, may never be able to meet unknown dogs well, but we can get him more confident around dogs and show him they’re not scary.

If there were ANY decent puppy/training classes nearby, I would give that a shot. Classes can actually be great for reactive dogs as long as they’re well planned, and it could really help him…unfortunately the classes near to us are TERRIBLE. About as bad as it gets. And I’ve not found good classes within 30 miles.

So I can’t go that route and I also don’t know anybody who has a dog that would be good to train around, and even if I did I doubt the owner would understand / help.

Just yesterday there was an interfering old busybody walking two dogs on the beach, one ‘not very nice’ and one supposedly friendly.

After I explained Mojo was a rescue and scared of dogs, she asked “Shall I hold my dog’s bum up to your dog so he can smell it?” (this as Mojo is backing off my lap growling at her dog a few feet away).

Me: *trying to hide a smile at this idea* No thanks, he’s fine just watching for now. He’s learning dogs aren’t scary, so we can’t throw too much at him.

Woman: It’s best if you don’t baby him though, you know. Isn’t it? You can’t treat him like a baby.

Me: (silently) Oh she’s one of those morons. Well, time to completely ignore her

Woman: It’s probably best if you just put him on the ground, stand up, and just ignore him. That’ll be the best for him. So he learns his place. You should probably do that.

Me: *continues to not even look at her whilst reassuring and treating Mojo, who’s doing really well* XD

Eventually she walked off. What an idiot.

Other than that, and some people stupidly interacting with Mojo (saying “oh naughty me, I’m distracting you from training aren’t I!” and reaching for his head when Mojo was focusing on me, a woman who grabbed at his head as she walked past and just carried on walking, etc etc) we had a really nice day πŸ™‚

Train ride on the way there!

Yay seaside πŸ˜€

Mojo’s first experience of a proper beach – of course he loved it!!

So much to sniff, so many new things to experience! Seaweed was a huge hit πŸ˜€

We walked along the beach and all of a sudden this end-of-the-world siren started. It was SO LOUD!! We were all a little bit freaked, I scooped Mojo up and cuddled him, he was dealing well with it, nobody else seemed panicked…turns out it was to announce the bloody tide coming in!! Really?!

It was at this point we met the stupid woman with the two Lhasa’s. Once they’d gone there was a Lab playing fetch ahead, clearly with no interest in me or Mojo, and so I sat the little guy down and we did some engage disengage.

We couldn’t get a photo fast enough to get the Lab in it (two throws of a ball from the slipway was apparently enough for the dog, then it was back into the car), but you can see Mojo volunteering focus and the edge of the slipway where the Lab was running from!

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After beach fun and saying hello to some people, we carried Mojo around a few shops and then we sat outside whilst my partner ran in to get some drinks and some fish and chips. We found half of a bird’s egg that had hatched, and Mojo decided it was very nice to chew on and mostly eat πŸ˜›

We then pootled back to the train station, and just behind there’s two picnic benches so we sat and ate our grub!

Before eating:

After I’d finished eating hahaha!

Working on him tucking out the way in small spaces πŸ˜€ ❀

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One quick pootle as my partner drank his cider…

…then it was time to sleep all the way home πŸ™‚

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I was utterly out of spoons after this trip. The rest of the night was spent feeling crummy and napping πŸ˜›

I had someone comment on FB asking why Mojo was the only one who got the seaside trip, so though I may as well preempt that and explain here too!

Sasha is too fearful; she couldn’t manage the train journeys and wouldn’t enjoy walking through the small town. Kasper is slightly too nervy, but also just too wild and frantic. And Tolly would get tired very quickly, doesn’t like riding trains or buses, and missed out on so much socialisation it would all be a bit much for her.

 

 

Mojo is a bloody legend

This dog is motivating me so much!!

Having Sasha as a puppy (and an adolescent hahaha!) who doesn’t want to train or play has been really tough on me. I struggled, and I do still struggle. She just is not a dog that thrives on training, and she’s not a “me” dog at all.

Enter Mojo, this highly food motivated pup who loves nothing more than interacting with me and learning new things…THIS IS THE DOG OF MY DREAMS!!!!

The difference between Mojo and Sasha is night and day, and I also feel huge relief and faith restored in my ability as a dog trainer haha! I say that jokily, but it’s true. Dog training is one of the few hobbies I am still well enough to do, and Sasha made me lose a lot of confidence…then along comes a loves-to-learn mutt puppy, and we click instantly!

I taught him ‘pressure’ πŸ™‚

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Every outing with him is so fab I want to post about it, so you’ll have to excuse all these training posts πŸ˜‰

Today we walked up through town to the canal. On the way up we did some loose lead walking, and then two Labradors started barking at Mojo from a car about 8ft ahead of us.

Mojo is reactive to dogs and dogs barking. At 9 weeks old he would start yappy-screaming every time he heard or saw a dog, and I’ve worked hard on this for the last 5 weeks. He’s gotten so much better, to the point where he did wonderful engage disengage and didn’t react to these two at all πŸ™‚

Our first stop was the canal; this was to further work on confidence around other dogs, maybe say hi to some, and to experience new things.

Unfortunately Mojo was KNACKERED due to having one of his whingey “I don’t need to sleep” nights, and so after literally two minutes walking he insisted on being carried πŸ˜›

He did see some dogs from my arms though, and was curious and not at all reactive, which was awesome to see!

After leaving the canal we went to the supermarket, and I expected Mojo to sleep whilst my partner went and grabbed some shopping – but nope! To Mojo, the supermarket = training, and he wanted to work!

He did some absolutely fantastic training, he offered so much focus, so many sits! He even ignored people that walked LESS THAN A FOOT FROM HIM and cooed at him, and he *still* chose to train rather than go say hi!! As you can see the lead was slack, I didn’t stop him at all, it was *his* choice πŸ˜€

A few times when I released him to go say hi, he would rush over all giddy and waggy-tailed, say hi and then hurry back to sit again hahaha!

Great day for socialisation though. On the canal he saw ducks for the first time, watched other dogs, and saw a barge go past. Outside the supermarket he focused around people of all ages and trolleys, and he got to greet half a dozen new people πŸ™‚

And from a wet walk yesterday – note, it wasn’t raining, the grass was just wet!!!

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And finally, a video of a giant puppy (Sasha) playing with a tiny puppy (Mojo)!

Training days – nails & socialisation

We’ve had some great training successes recently πŸ™‚

Firstly, KASPER’S NAILS ARE AT A NORMAL LENGTH!!

Up until he was about three, Kasper kept his nails short on walks, but as we had to tone his walks down, they grew longer. I spent a lot of time with Boo doing crucial training (fears, recall, resource guarding etc), so nails fell out of the picture.

When I did get around to working on handling, as with everything I had to take it extremely slowly. Kasper had a huge fear of having his feet touched, and it took over two years to get to the point where I could use a clipper on them.

But now here we are, not only can I comfortably use a clipper AND a dremel on Kasper’s nails, but I’m able to do sessions long/often enough that we’re pushing back the length πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Finally, his nails are at a length where vets and most dog owners wouldn’t even glance at them! I still want to get a decent amount off them, obviously, but they look SO MUCH BETTER than they ever have these last three years!

This was his right foot after yesterday’s session, before I trimmed them further

And his left paw after today’s session!!

Yay Boo!

As for Mojo, he excelled a trip to the supermarket yesterday and it was HEAVING!!

We worked on loose lead walking, focus, and exposure to crowds, trolleys, kids, all sorts! He was really wonderful, he reacted once to some annoying brat running about making truly bizarre growly noises, but other than that he was as close to perfect as he could have been πŸ™‚

A herp kind of day!

If you don’t like snakes, frogs, lizards, or bugs…best to look away now πŸ˜‰

Herptile is a broad term covering reptiles and amphibians collectively. I’m throwing some invertebrates into the mix too!

I’ve always been more of a rodent fancier, I usually have at least a one snake (generally a corn snake), but usually my rodents far outweigh my herps. Not so atm!

I have a communal cage of female mice (who occasionally have the odd male chucked in and have litters, a) to keep the numbers up and b) to feed some of my herps…yes, grim, but I want to feed my herps healthy, loved mice, so I would rather raise and feed my own than buy from rodent farms where they’ve lived lives of misery).

And for herps we have a Fire Skink, two Whites Tree Frogs, a Kenyan Sand Boa, and dubia roaches! The dubia roaches are also living as a colony, and fed to the frogs and the skink…quite self sufficient really πŸ™‚

First up is Nakano, our Fire Skink.

Nakano is the first skink we have owned, and she’s fab! Her care requirements are pretty easy; fairly humid substrate she can dig in, heat lamp with thermostat, and a bare light to provide basic UV. A UVB light is not required.

Nakano moves very much like a snake, and she’s extremely fast. She’s a very good climber too, which is surprising. She’s fun to handle, and although she can be wriggly at the start (especially for my partner, oh how she flails for him!!) most the time she just chills in your hand.

She gets fed every 4-5 days, and is a huge foodie that enjoys a varied diet. She has a pinkie once every 2-4 weeks, crickets / locusts about once a month, medium size dubia roaches most feeds, and a single adult roach as a treat!

Her feeding response is off the charts, and she’s an incredible hunter. This roach was a pain for her to catch as it was in the plant, but she got it!

Next up, our Whites Tree Frogs: Lush and Soap!

These guys are fab!!

They have amazing accuracy when jumping, they’re awesome climbers, and can even climb the glass of their terrarium. Then need misting with dechlorinated water several times a day, they CAN be handled and actually come to enjoy it, and we feed ours every 3-5 days.

Their staple is roaches and crickets, with a pinky as an infrequent treat.

These guys are super active every evening, and they usually croak 1-5 times each night. It’s surprisingly loud and doesn’t sound like a frog at all πŸ˜›

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Next, our new girl! Piggpi the Kenyan Sand Boa.

I fell in love with this species about a month ago, after seeing one on someone’s IG account. They’re very small but VERY stocky snakes (females can reach about 2-2.5ft, males about 1.5ft!) that love to burrow.

At a similar length, a corn snake would be as thin as a shoelace!

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Burrowing

Kenyan Sand Boas feed on pre-killed defrosted mice, and are fed every 4-14 days depending on their size and age. They’re one of the best feeders, so much so that you shouldn’t approach them from the front as they may mistake the movement as food!! Other than that they tend to be very well tempered and, obviously, they’re incredible to look at!

Finally, our blaptica dubia πŸ˜€

Our dubia roaches actually live in an 80cm draw in a chest of drawers, with a heat mat stuck to the front. They can’t climb surfaces and, despite the fact the males have wings, they can’t fly. This means they’re very easy to own as unlike Hissers, for example, it’s easy to prevent escapes!

These guys are extremely easy to keep and breed. They grow to about 1-1.5 inches, nowhere near as big as Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches.

They prefer warm dark spaces, and feed happily on a Β variety of fruits and vegetables. They breed readily providing it’s warm enough, and I just blast a corner of their cage and their food bowl with a spray of water once every day or two. The best ratio for breeding is 1 male to ever 3 females.

Also, interestingly, dubia roaches are far nutritionally superior for herps than locusts or crickets πŸ˜‰

So far we have around 100 babies!!

And that brings you to the end of my herp post haha πŸ˜€

We’re planning on adding another herp to our family this October, for my birthday, but we don’t know what!! We were considering a tarantula, but they just don’t seem like a very fun / fulfilling pet to us (our personal opinion πŸ˜‰ ).

I’ve always wanted a Blue Tongued Skink, but we don’t really have the space for one yet. I love tortoises, so that’s a possibility, especially as you can keep one in a Ferplast 120 for the first few years…but we also love Ocellated Skinks and Cresties too! Any herp lovers have a suggestion? Let us know, we’re very much open to ideas πŸ™‚