Dog friendly Bunker Bay Cafe

The moon boots off, and I’m starting to get out and about again. Still a way from walking marathons, or even kilometres for that matter, but walking from a car park to a cafe is definitely welcome and do-able now.

Last week we packed what we needed for a few hours out and about with Mr Tilly. When heading out with Tills, the days of donning a hat and tucking a credit card in our back pocket are long gone. Now it’s check first if a place is dog friendly. Once that’s sorted, then make sure the dog blanket is secured in the back of the car, fill our pockets with dog treats, top up the doggie water bottle, check we have enough poo bags (sometimes up to three may be needed), and of course, our own hats, and a credit card.

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Train the trainer re-commences

Paul and Mr Tilly re-commenced obedience training last week. Tilly did his initial puppy training prior to Christmas last year.  Now it’s time for the ‘real deal’. He’s seven months old, and is ok for his age, but there’s room for improvement.

Are you paying attention Mr Tilly

One thing that becomes clear is that without formal training, both puppy and owner can get a little tardy. Another thing that becomes clear is that dogs are easy to train, providing they’re given sufficient mental stimulation. As far as I can see the main point of the training is to provide ideas for the owners to mentally stimulate and challenge their four legged friends. The interaction between owner and dog when learning tricks seems to result in such a good relationship and bond that obedience just naturally follows.

Hoops provide great training aids

Tilly gets his daily walk, usually on the beach, but that’s not enough to keep him out of trouble for a whole day. Ideas to stimulate him mentally, and at the same time help him develop into a mature dog with good social habits are very much appreciated.

As I’m still in my moon boot, the training during the sessions falls to Paul, as do his daily walks. I still attend the training and sit in the shade with our old camera (hence the poor quality photos). Whilst I’m not involved in the formal training process at the sessions, I still pick up on some things that Paul misses. Paul’s out there in the sun, trying to keep Mr Tilly calm so as he can listen.  This sometimes means trying to hear over some of the other dogs who’s owners are having even less success than Paul at keeping their canine companions calm and quiet.

Sometimes he’s very good…

And sometimes he’s easily distracted

In the two sessions we’ve attended so far this year we’re learning a mixture of important commands, like ‘stay’, and ‘wait’. And we’re learning things like how to get Tilly to walk with us zig zagging between obstacles. This involves the normal walk with me command, ‘this way’, when he’s on the correct side of us to follow, and also a ‘turn’ command when we’re going to walk into him if he doesn’t turn prior to us.

Walk this way, and turn that way

We’re also learning some things that will form the basis for more complicated commands later. One of today’s lessons was to teach him to ‘touch’ our closed fist with his nose, at which time we need an unused praise word followed by a treat delivered from our other hand. The praise word must be delivered immediately his nose touches our fist, and works like a ‘tick’ works when we ourselves as children managed to get our sums correct. Again it was stressed that this praise word must be a previously unused word. We’ve decided to simply use ‘tick’ for want of a better word. Certainly haven’t used that one before. Our homework is to let the closed fist evolve into an open hand. In time that’s supposedly going to progress to him being able to locate specific things for us, once he learns the names. The example we were given was to locate a misplaced mobile phone. Mmmm – hard to imagine, but perhaps it’ll all become clear with the passage of time…..

Sometimes it’s all very confusing – take the different words needed for different expectations to similar commands.

There’s, ‘wait up’, which means hang about for a while and relax (used perhaps when you meet someone on a walk and want to stop and have a natter). Then there’s ‘wait’, a slightly more formal version, used perhaps when we’re going out of a gate and want Tilly to wait a few moments whilst we get the gate open and check everything’s ok for proceeding forward. Then there’s ‘stay’, used as a command for staying in one spot for longer periods of time. And today, another similar command, ‘freeze’, meaning don’t move a muscle. It’s difficult for us to get the words sorted out for each situation, and not to use ‘wait’ when we should be saying, ‘stay’. If we get it wrong though, what hope has poor Mr Tilly got.

We try to use ‘here’ informally to get Till’s to check in with us when walking off lead at the beach. And we try to use, ‘Come’ as the formal command that must be obeyed, for when a potential danger is evident. Do we get them in the right place….. Haha – not a chance! Thank goodness we have a smart dog. He seems to forgive our dog training inadequacies and rewards us with behaviour that goes above and beyond our level of training expertise.

He’s a great little dog, and is shaping up to be sensible above his mere seven months of age. He’s such a joy, a true companion.

 

Mr Tilly’s growing up

Our little man is growing up. He recently turned six months old, and is coming along brilliantly for his age.

He’s supposed to be a labradoodle, but I’m not so sure he’s not a bit of ‘catadoodle’. His coat is so soft. It’s tempting to stroke him like one would a cat rather than give him a doggie type pat, and rough and tumble.

Looking like a bit of a scruff

He loves to sit on the back of the couch to look out the window, just like a cat would. Sometimes he drapes himself over with his hind legs resting on the lumber support. Other times he perches himself on the top to get a really good look.

Just checking to see if anything’s going on

Something’s happening that deserves a more intense look

We have a cover over a seat on the couch, which is supposed to be his seat. But if there’s cushions on the couch he’ll make the most of them.

Talk about a princess!

He loves his daily beach walks. Some dogs recognise the ‘walk’ word, and it can only be spoken if the leads about to come out. For Mr Tilly it’s the ‘beach’ word. Any mention of the word has his ears raised and he’s watching with eager anticipation for the signs to follow. Once Paul dons his hat there’s no chance of him containing his excitement.

Currently, of course, I can’t go with them both,  but I look forward to getting the daily report of who they met at the beach, and what antics Tilly managed to get up to.

I have to say, this little boy doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his 7.5 kilo body. We’re grateful when we meet up with an older dog who isn’t aggressive, but also isn’t into, ‘meet and greet’ with every canine he meets up with. Mr Tilly’s learning from these non-aggressive, growly warnings that sometimes it’s best to only give a bit of a tail wag and a friendly look, then walk on by.  Those dogs are teaching him that caution’s sometimes advisable.

Sometimes of course, his lessons of needed caution are re-enforced when he meets up with a dog that is mildly aggressive. Recently he crossed paths with a rather large Husky type pup of a similar age to himself. The dog bowled him over and had him by the throat.  Paul thinks it was extremely rough play rather than real aggression. I’m told Tilly immediately rolled on his back in complete submission and screamed blue murder. And when I say screamed, I gather it was loud and clear, and caught people’s attention over quite a distance.  Paul, and the other dog owner returned the situation to a stand off, and Paul carried Tills up to a seat on the beach to give him some time out. When they continued their walk, apparently many of our regular beach acquaintances expressed concern as to Mr Tilly’s well being. Even a few hours later, a car pulled up in our driveway, with the gentleman occupant having sought us out to check all was well with our boy.

Although the above situation possibly sounds like we’re not watching out for him, believe me we do watch out for him. Had the dog been a full grown dog that could have given more than a bit of a good scare, Paul would have had Mr Tilly back on the lead long before their paths crossed. We both carefully assess any dogs we don’t know, taking into account, age, size, and the general demeanour of both dog, and owner. Although it scared the hell out of Till’s, he didn’t come to any harm, and lessons of using caution were re-enforced.

It’s unusual for him not to meet up with one of his doggie friends on the beach and to enjoy a romp of some sort. There’s Mavarick, a gentle Great Dane the size of a small pony. And there’s his best friend, Jimmy. Jimmy’s two weeks older than him, and is a full sized Labradoodle. He’s a bit rough because of his bigger size, but they work it out. When they see each other coming from opposite directions they’re both soooo excited. We love Jimmy.

Daisy’s the same age as Jimmy, and although she’s only a medium sized labradoodle (same as Tilly), she’s much, much bigger. Daisy’s mum and dad love meeting up with Tills as Daisy’s still learning how to socialise and gets a bit heavy with her paws. Tills gives her some play time off the lead, and is so fast that Daisy doesn’t get much of a chance to stand on him.

And then there’s Zulu. Zulu’s a bittsa that resembles a Schnauzer. He’s about the same size as Tilly, and is around two years old. He has so much energy. The two of them play chase, each taking turns as to who’s the chaser, and who’s to be chased. To say they run their feet off is an understatement. Tilly runs so fast and so hard he usually throws up,  but he won’t give it up. He does have a great time with Zulu, and it seems he willingly pays the price of losing his breakfast for such a great romp.

And when he returns to the home front, if he’s not watching what’s going on in the neighbourhood – he still loves his soft toys and teddies, and plays with them often. He retrieves balls in the house or garden, and brings them back for us to throw for him again. On the beach he has no interest in balls though yet – there’s to many other things that need exploring there.

 

Although we’ve bought him two beds since his first little puppy bed, it’s his first little bed that he won’t part with. He drags it around, and despite having had the snip when he was only seven weeks old, he tries to practice becoming a ‘big daddy dog’ with his bed. When we tell him to stop that game, he squeezes himself into the bed, curled up like a cat, and sucks at the soft sides of the bed while petting away (like a cat does). He doesn’t care how he’s going to love his little, old bed, but love it he’s definitely going to do! And when outside he loves to chase butterflies in the garden. Paul calls him a ‘big girls blouse’.

We’re so pleased we finally committed to getting ourselves a dog, and so pleased that dog’s, Mr Tilly. He’s such a pleasure!

 

What to do when you can’t do anything else

I thought I’d stockpiled plenty to keep me occupied during my two weeks of forced total rest (leg in plaster and must be kept elevated). I’d deliberately left dozens of posts from blogs I follow unread – I caught up with all of them in the first three days.

Yacht anchored overnight at Cape Leveque

Although I’ve written extensively on our recent trips to the Kimberleys over the past few years, there were a few experiences we had in the Kimberleys during our pre-blog days that had created great memories. I’d earmarked a few of them to write posts on – now all done. It was great to write them up, I almost felt like I was re-living the original experiences.

I’ve read a novel that had been recommended. ‘Our souls at Night’ by Kent Haruf. It’s only a short little novel, but a great read, and just little bit sad…..If you haven’t already read it, I’d recommend it.

I’ve accustomed Mr Tilly to being brushed a little more, and I’ve managed to sneak in clipping his nails. He’s always been reasonably tolerant of having a hair cut (with scissors only though, no clippers, and not around his face), but he’s not been tolerant of being brushed, or having his nails clipped. During my forced rest he spends a lot of time snuggled next to me on the couch, so I’ve used the time to good advantage. He’s getting a bit more tolerant now when he sees the brush in my hand – a way to go yet though.

Good company, snuggling next to me on the couch

I’ve begun researching a camper van trip to New Zealand’s South Island for early next year. I have two brothers who live in Christchurch, and one will turn 70 in February 2019.  All going well, we’ll coincide his birthday celebrations with this long awaited camper van trip.

We’ve done our research for our replacement caravan, and have decided to go with a new one. We’ve chosen a 16ft, Prado friendly (weights are suitable), New Age, Manta Ray. All finishings have been chosen. Would you believe it, the sales manager drove down here from Perth with all the samples so as we could get our order finalised for the earliest possible delivery. That’s a 6 hour driving day, plus almost two hours here. Now that’s what I call service! The van should be delivered by no later than 1st June.

I’m now starting to research this years caravan trip. This one is going to be whole new experience for us. With Mr Tilly being a new addition to our household,  he’ll be coming along for the ride. One thing I’m finding is that most of the on-line information on travelling with dogs doesn’t quite seem to fit our scenario. There’s lots of basic sort of information, what to take, and how to secure your animal for safer car travel, and there’s quite a bit of information on travelling with a dog and children together. There doesn’t seem to be anything much that actually gives a running account of how a triip taken by Grey Nomads with a dog goes. If anyone is aware of any, please let me know.

I’ll be starting a whole new set of categories. These will include preparing for a trip with a dog. And a week by week, or day by day account of any trips we take. These will no doubt commence soon.

I revisit the surgeon after two more sleeps (yes, I’m counting down the sleeps), and hopefully the plaster will come off and be replaced with a moonboot. I think that means I’ll still be considerably incapacitated for some time to come yet, so most of my posts are likely to be research based rather than based on actual experiences. And being sat on my bum, with plenty of time on my hands, I’m likely to have lots of time to put into research. Apologies if I get a bit boring!

 

Mr Tilly’s first Christmas causes knee jerk reaction

Opening his pressies

Enjoying his beef-hide cracker on Luka’s bed

Mr Tilly is settling down again after his first Christmas, and today – so are we. I say today, as we’ve been at sixes and sevens now for a couple of weeks, not knowing if we’ve been coming or going (literally).

With so many people here over the Christmas period Mr Tilly was never at a loss for attention. He loved having the two young teenagers here, Luka and Emma, who were both more than willing to play any number of games with him, including ‘chase’. He loves ‘chase’!

Our little house is situated on the corner of busy Bussell Highway. Sometimes, particularly over the busy holiday seasons (Christmas and Easter), the traffic noise can get a bit intrusive. We’d thought that the noise was the only problem with our location, and have been planting screening plants and bird attracting natives ever since we moved in. The plan has been to block out a little of the noise, and to provide a distraction from it in the form of bird song. As yet, the plants are still immature, so it’s early days yet to see how successful the plantings will be.

However, as we were to find out, there’s more problems that go with living so near a main road than noise…..

After many games of chase with Luka over Christmas, grandson Tim arrived. We usually allow Mr Tilly to accompany us outside when guests arrive, and he’s always so excited to see the visitors that there’s no danger of him doing anything except following them back into the house to say hello. However, upon Tim’s arrival,  seeing another long legged younger male, he excitedly took off towards busy Bussell Highway, I think trying instigate a game of chase.

Back in the safe arms of Emma

I couldn’t begin to relate the panic that followed, and I won’t go into  details. Fortunately, tragedy was averted, and Tilly was returned indoors to safety.

We were lucky that time, and realising we may not be so lucky if there’s ever a second time,  we had since been planning to move house. However, today we’ve realised it’s early days yet for that, and it’s probably a bit of a knee jerk reaction.

Sanity has returned, and a more sensible, less knee jerky plan has evolved. Tomorrow Paul is going to arrange some fencing to go between the posts of our front verandah. The fencing will provide a second barrier between our front door and access to the busy corner roads. Additionally, now the silly season is over again we should soon be able to re-commence dog obedience training – and Mr Tilly will hopefully learn to respond immediately to the”come” command regardless of exciting distractions.

So that means we’re not moving – well not this year anyway. We want to see the plants grow, and the birds arrive to enjoy them. Plus we’ve hardly begun yet to knock this little house into shape yet. Watch this space for improvements yet to come……

I think we’ll still be here at this time next year, and hopefully I’ll be recording photos from our little boy’s second Christmas. For now though here’s a couple more from Mr Tilly’s first Christmas:

He loved his Christmas Cracker

Digging at the beach (the only place he’s allowed to dig)

What a cutie

Puppy rearing in 2017 verses puppy rearing in the 1980s

Attitudes and expectations have changed in the thirty plus years since we rescued our, little Sophie.

Sophie, a white miniature poodle, was rescued from a home nearby. We had been on the look out for a dog, but the furtherest breed on my radar would have been a poodle. Never-the-less, what’s one to do when you hear about a dog needing a new home….. And then when you go and take a look, and are greeted with a dirty, matted, flea infested bundle of something, chained up in an outside laundry with a chain heavy enough to secure a Rottweiler. Clearly, she was a dog in need of a new home.

The motley crew in 1980 – Sophie the new addition, had been bathed, but not yet clipped.

Sophie cleaned up beautifully and went on to provide great companionship for the family for around 13 years. Along with the companionship, we developed an appreciation for what owning a poodle means.

September 1982, with Paul’s mum, and Scruff (who fathered Sophie’s only litter)

Despite the 80’s upbringing of Sophie, she thrived. Being a poodle, she required regular grooming, mainly in the form of hair cuts. The tight, curly wool of a poodle isn’t easy to brush, but fortunately, cutting is usually sufficient to keep them clean and tidy. She didn’t lose any hair, didn’t get any of the odour usually associated with dogs, and the poodle intelligence meant training was a breeze.

Sophie opening her Christmas Pressie (1986)

When it came to getting another dog, the choice of breed was a no-brainer. It had to be part poodle so as to get the non-shedding coat, and to get the intelligence that would mean easier training. But it had to be a cross breed too, so as to get something a little less haughty than Sophie tended to be.

And so we chose our little Labadoodle. The choice of dog out of the way, then comes the rearing of the dog.

Sophie was feed a diet of canned dog food, a bit of kibble (but that wasn’t really the thing in the 1980s), table scraps, and left over bones from any cooked legs of lamb. We knew cooked chicken bones could be dangerous for her, but never-the-less she managed to survive many a bin raid devouring the remaining carcass of any roast chicken dinners. She was a brat for managing to open the kitchen bin, especially if she could smell chicken.

Not only did she survive eating cooked chicken, she ate her fair share of chocolate too. She survived scoldings when she did something wrong, (even if we discovered her misdemeanour many hours after the event). And she only went to the vet a few times throughout her entire life. We did our best to keep her flea and worm free with over the counter products. Her vet visits consisted of being sterilised, a couple of necessary operations to remove grass seeds from her ears, and I think there may have been a couple of vaccination shots administered over the years. We certainly never considered a yearly check up was necessary, and as far as I remember, no-one considered such a thing for their pets.

My, how things have changed.

And thanks to the wealth of information now available at our fingertips, things are no longer simple. Kibble is definitely in….. Canned food is a maybe, as is raw food. Table scraps are a definite no. Cooked bones of any sort can now cause cracked teeth or impactions that may require surgery (I wonder why that wasn’t a concern in the 1980s, and how Sophie survived all her cooked lamb bones unscathed).

Raw bones, particularly chicken necks are something to consider – depending on which vet you talk to, or which internet site you look at. Some vets say absolutely not, some seem okay with it. However, without bones, dogs teeth deteriorate at a very young age. The choices for cleaning (if raw bones aren’t fed) seems to be manufactured dental chews, and/or brushing your dogs teeth…..

One thing that has, without a doubt, changed for the better is the flea and worm treatments now available. These are now given periodically orally, and seem to do a great job. The rest of the changes though are soooo confusing!

Vet visits – Our first chosen vet was adamantly in the Kibble only diet camp. Absolutely nothing else. As we’d already done enough research to have decided raw chicken necks and wings were the way to go for dental health, we didn’t stick with her to find out how Tilly’s teeth cleaning was to be managed.

So, onto vet number two. Now, I need to digress back to our breed and breeder selection here. Once we’d decided on a Labradoodle, we needed to select our breeder. We chose a small, accredited breeder, Eungai, in Perth’s hills. Mandi, from Eungai chooses her breeding dogs carefully, given due regard to temperament, and very importantly, to hip dysplasia scores. Labrador’s, and subsequently, Labradoodles are extremely prone to hip dysplasia which can result in painful arthritis from an early age. Breeding from dogs that have good hips helps minimise the chances of this happening. So, after lots of internet research, we chose Eungai for our breeder – more on how happy we’ve been with that choice at a later stage – this post is already so lengthy that it’s almost a book!

So, vet number two – stretches Tilly’s legs out checking for signs of hip dysplasia. One leg stretches out easily, the other not so easily. The vet, being almost positive that Tilly is already showing problematic signs of hip dysplasia, advises x-rays under aesthetic. $680 later the results are back, the Penn hip scores are in. Tilly has near perfect hips…… So, thank you Mandi for the care taken in choosing your breeding dogs. The tightness in the offending leg was then put down to a sore muscle, and, wait for it – a dog physio was recommended. Hell! his muscle can’t have been that sore, he wasn’t even limping….. Anyway, we declined to go there.

We’re sticking with this vet for now – I don’t know why, but we are. Mr Tilly’s on monthly check ups until he reaches six months of age, with his next check-up next week to check his teeth are coming through correctly. What will be recommended if they’re not, I have no idea. But if, and when anything unexpected is advised, we’ll decide at the time if we’ll continue on with this path, seemingly down the road to ensure we have a perfect labradoodle specimen. A few less than perfect traits I think could sit okay with us……

I think there was dog training 30 years ago, but it wasn’t the norm. Now in 2017 not only is dog training recommended, but also puppy school, and pre-puppy school. The odd clout on the bum or snout is definitely out, even stern growling (unless its at the exact moment a mis-demeanor is discovered) is also out. All training now is to be done only with treats. Kibble diets, which seem to be the main diet recommended, need to be weighed and dogs should never be fed more than the recommended amount so as to prevent obesity.

Exercise needs to be supervised, just enough – and not to rigorous for fear skeletal damage could result. Goodness, how negligent we were with Sophie – in comparison to the dog-rearing guidelines now it seems we weren’t far ahead of the people we rescued her from.

So, with everything about as clear as mud, and totally confused, we’re going with what feels right to us.

We took Tilly to pre-puppy classes, and for now have decided to consolidate the things we’re aware he needs to learn from those lessons. We’ll probably pick up on some further dog training next year, but we decided not to continue on immediately with further formal training. Most of his training is done with treats, but he is still sometimes the recipient of some stern words, and sometimes (rarely though) even long after he’s committed a misdemeanour. Goodness, we’re only human after all, and sometimes frustration comes into play over and above common sense, and the 2017 dog rearing rules. He’ll just have to deal with his imperfect owners the best he can! Honestly,  though, he’s such a good dog, and needs little in the form of any reprimands.

The vet visits – well the juries out on where we’ll go with that in the future. Definitely, Tilly will be having his yearly vaccination boosters, and we will be administering his flea and worm medication as required. More than that I think will be on the needs of the dog, rather than the whims of the vet.

Exercise – well we walk him every day. Sometimes we let him run off the lead on the beach, but his re-call is still hit and miss, so we’re cautious with that. If, when he’s off the lead, he runs to fast, well we’re going to let him – negligent dog owners that we are!!

A cooling swim after some ‘rigourous’ beach running

Drying off after his swim – I wonder when his legs will stop growing…..

And his diet – well we’ve chosen what seems to sit right with us, and yes a good quality kibble forms the bulk of his diet. It’s such an easy way to go. We’ve opted to forbid any table scraps – mainly so as to prevent him begging for our food. The only people food we share with him is a few slices of raw apple. We feed him a few raw eggs a week, a few spoonfuls of natural yogurt over the week, and some raw meat. We mainly keep the raw meat for training treats, but most days he gets at least some. Today I’ve frozen some pieces of sheep hearts in small blocks of iced water, and I plan on using these as hot day treats that he can lick at, with meat rewards in the centre for when I’m grooming him. And every few days we give him either a raw chicken neck or a raw wing. He takes his time, chewing them thoroughly, and I know we run a risk of impactions (and resulting surgery) from the bones. We figure though that the bones are a better way to go for good dental health. Brushing a dogs teeth just seems wrong, and we’re not going there.

So, for better or for worse – that’s how we’re rearing our little Mr Tilly in 2017. It’s vastly different than the way we reared Sophie – but hey! I think Sophie did okay, and I think Till’s could have done a lot worse than to be living in our care, near the shores of  beautiful Geographe Bay.  I think come winter, when we head up to sunny Broome and beyond, he’ll be thinking he’s in ‘doggie heaven’. I can’t wait. He doesn’t know how good life can be yet –  But he will…

House living

Mmmmm, it’s been sometime since I last posted anything, and I’m realising we’re allowing ourselves to settle into mundane ‘house living’. I’ve just been through our recent photos, and the offerings are sparse indeed.

It’s not that we’ve been doing nothing. In fact, life continues to be very busy. So – why are there so few photos? Well, there’s really no excuse, just a few contributing factors. The main culprit has been the new job. What was supposed to be a two hour a day job, which we could comfortably do early in the morning, turned out to be a three hour job, which could only realistically be completed in the afternoons. We realised two weeks ago that the afternoon work was interfering too much with our ‘leisure time’, so we negotiated shorter hours. We’re now back to the two hours we wanted, 5.30am – 7.30am, then the day is our own. So far though, we still haven’t been managing to do much with it.

Next thing that’s added to this recent hump has also been related to our job. Cleaning the pre-school means working in a toddler, germ ridden environment (as anyone who has worked in a pre-school will attest). We’ve both picked up a bit of a cold virus, nothing to bad, just the sort of cold that seems to come on in the early evening so as to disturb our sleep overnight, then disappears upon rising, only to return again the next evening. We’re both tired.

We have still been managing to fit a beach walk in everyday with Mr Tilly. He’s proving to be a terrific little companion, and providing we fit a beach walk in with him sometime before mid-day he’s a well behaved little puppy for the remainder of the day. On the warmer days he’ll venture into the water, and I don’t think it’ll be long before the water will be his main focus.

Safe on the higher ground of a sand bar

He’s finished his initial puppy training, and has been quick to learn the first things a puppy should learn. So far, he sits, and lies down on command. He walks reasonably well on a loose lead, and when off the lead at the beach he comes back to us when called (most of the time). He stays reasonably near us when off the lead on the beach, and doesn’t object if we snap his lead back on when we see a need (a bigger dog approaching, or a child that we don’t want him to jump on). Generally, he’s easy to control even off the lead, but we still have a way to go before we’ll feel completely comfortable. He’s not five months old yet, so is still easily distracted.

We’ve just about finished knocking the garden into shape. The roses and annuals are all starting to flower, and soon I imagine they’ll putting on a show pretty enough to inspire Paul to get his camera out. Today while I weeded the front garden, Paul divided and repotted some of our hanging baskets.

Re-potted baskets

I love my garden, and I love having a dog. I don’t mind our little job, and I don’t mind living in a house in Busselton in the summer months. However, I do mind that we seem to have let it all descend into a bit of rut. Now that I’ve realised that’s what’s happened though, I will do something about it. So, watch this space – starting tomorrow I think we’d better get ourselves out of comfort zone and start looking for somewhere close by to explore. There’s so much in this area to see, and to do, and we’ve hardly scratched the surface.

Mr Tilly’s first big day out

Yippee, Tilly’s now fully vaccinated, and we can take him further afield without fear of him contacting the deadly Parvo Virus.

He started puppy training last week, and the comment was that we have a very intelligent dog on our hands. The comment came with a bit of an implied warning – beware, if you’re not firm he’ll run rings around you both! And don’t we just know it….. But so far we’re very happy with his progress, and his training.

We’re aware he needs lots of stimulation, so with spare time on a fine day last week it seemed the perfect opportunity to take him out and about. We started by attaching his lead, which usually means a walk to our beach – and didn’t he just let us know we weren’t living up to his expectations when instead of heading in the direction of the beach, we attached him to his tether on the back seat of the car. We ignored his complaints, and within a minute or two he had settled back to enjoy the ride.

First stop, Gracetown. Gracetown’s a gorgeous little surfing town near to Margaret River. The township’s small, with virtually no commercial facilities, but with some very expensive real estate. The surrounding location is gorgeous.

The 135 km Cape to Cape walking track has a section that follows the shore-line on the edge of the town. Most of the Cape to Cape walk meanders through National Parks, but the section on the edge of Gracetown is Dog Friendly.
We had only followed the track a short distance when we came across steps (lots of steps) leading down to an interesting rock beach. Tilly wasn’t sure at first how to tackle the steps, but one flight down and he had found his rhythm and would have made short work of the remainder had he not been on his lead. As it’s the first of the warm weather we have to be very snake aware as they start moving about, finding warm spots to sun bake in. So, even if he had fully learned ‘recall’ yet, he still wouldn’t be walking freely at this time of the year in bush areas.

Returning to the car, the next stop was directly above the surfers. The surf was good, but not fearsome by their standards. Believe me, it can get fearsome in that area. You’ll notice in some of the photos the surfers wear helmets for protection. The rides they get are good and long – but if dumped, the power of the water above, and the reef beneath can have dire consequences.

Note the crash helmet

The power of the waves as they crash into a rock

One more beach stop at Prevelly Point, Margaret River’s world famous competition surfing spot. There’s been a lot of work done on the foreshore since I was last there. What an awesome spot to sit and watch awesome waves, and the awesome folk who are brave enough to surf them.

Brave people

By this stage Mr Tilly was getting a bit tired, and we were getting a bit hungry. We headed inland to a place where Paul had been promising himself a sample of their ale – Cowaramup Brewing company. They have a lawned area where dogs are welcome, so Tilly and I settled down under the shade of umbrella while Paul headed inside to fetch some beers. A pint of IPA for Paul, and 1/2 pint for myself, and they provided us with a large bowl of water for Tilly. We ordered one serve of beer battered fish, chips and salad which we shared. It was easily enough for the two of us. The batter was crisp and delicious, but the fish was a bit tasteless and let it down a bit. The chips were perfect, and the salad small, but adequate. There were lots of choices on the menu, and we had trouble deciding on what would have. So, with the fish letting this meal down a bit, but everything else being absolutely perfect for a day out with our fur ball – we’ll definitely be making a return trip to sample one of their other menu delights.

Lunch over with we wandered around the grounds with Tilly’s leash extended so as he could romp around a bit. We don’t have any lawn, so the grassed area was something he hasn’t seen since he left his birth home.  He clearly loved it, jumping around happy as a pig as mud – or should I say, a pup in grass……

‘Are you looking at me’!

Grass – happy as a pig in mud

or ‘a pup in the grass’

He slept all the way home. He’s such a little treasure, a real pleasure!

Of toys and bikes

He loves his toys. He puts them in his bed, then takes them outside, then immediately brings them back in again and puts them back to bed.  His night bed (inside his crate) is a bit bigger than this one, so more room for both him and his toys. I can see a bigger day bed is going to be needed soon.

As long as there’s room for the toys…

Sometimes he piles in on top of them, and other times he naps with just his head on the bed keeping a watchful eye out.

Sleeping with one eye open as he watches over ‘his babies’

A beautiful sunny day today, so after his run along the beach, it seemed like a good opportunity to try him out on the bike.

Ya can go further on a bike!

He seems to be interested in most new experiences – the bike didn’t prove to be an exception.

Bit of fidget bum yet though!

Paul’s using my bike that already has a basket on the front to get him used to it. Once he’s used to it, we’re going to fit some sort of box or basket to the back of Paul’s bike. I’ll be leaving that to Paul though, I can barely balance myself on a bike, so no wriggle worms are coming with me on my bike rides.

Yep – he’ll get used to this fast I think.

I can see the two of them whizzing along the bike path at break neck speed before too long. Walks on the beach, swims in the ocean, and rides up and down the bike path – he’s going to be one very lucky little puppy……