Sunny Saturday

We’re heading into a rainy work week in Melbourne, but at least Saturday was nice and sunny.

Sunny Saturday selfie (with dog).

Maggie was not amused with all my photo taking, though. She wanted me to play tug with her.

What? Oh. You’re taking another photo of me. You could, of course, be playing tug with me. Right now. With this very toy. You know that, right? Right? But no. You’re going to be boring. Again. *sigh*

She did keep chewing on that rope toy quite happily, though — with only the occasional distraction.

And she followed me indoors afterwards.

Oh, hello. You’re at my level for a change.

Puffer jacket Saturday

It was a grey, dreary, six degrees on our walk this morning — complete with intermittent drizzles. On the bright side we both to go wear or puffer jackets :)

Hers is fancier and more expensive than mine, of course. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

“Yes, it’s cold and wet. Yes, it’s drizzling. But I need to eat my greens.” Bonus fluffy butt in a stylish doggy puffer jacket.

Snoozing dog

One of the perks of working from home is having a snoozing dog in your eye line the whole time.

It’s a cold day and that’s a big gas heater on the back wall. Maggie is very happy.

It’s also a little amusing when you start to speak in a conference call and startle said sleeping puppy :)

Wha..?

Warm and stylish!

It’s important to be warm and stylish when Nadia takes you for your morning walk on a windy, overcast 4-degree day in Melbourne :)

I’m not sure how much she appreciated the coat, but she was certainly looking forward to her walk!

Happy puppy :)

Happy puppy :)

Maggie, waiting

Maggie waits outside the bathroom door for Nadia to finish getting dressed so they can go for a walk.

Maggie waits patiently for Nadia to come out of the bathroom.

Maggie prods me to get out of bed so I can take her for a walk.

Get out of bed and take me for a walk already!

Maggie decides to take a nap next to the dining table between me and Nadia because we won’t stop talking to each other after having finished lunch.

Might as well take a nap between the humans while they go on and on and on talking to each other at the dining table.

Snoozles and cuddles with Maggie

Turns out this often the first thing Nadia sees when she wakes up in the morning :)

First thing I see most mornings. #love #snoozles #mornings #dogsofinstagram #family @ameelkhan — Nadia Niaz on Instagram (Source)

Of course mornings aren’t the only times Maggie and I cuddle on the bed.

And last night. Evening cuddles are important! @ameelkhan #puppylove #cuddles #doggo — Nadia Niaz on Instagram (Source)

If you want more photos of (mostly) Maggie you should definitely follow Nadia on Instagram.

Maggie's spot in the garden

On hot, sunny afternoons this is where you’ll find Maggie chilling out in the garden — particularly if both Nadia and I are there too, hanging out the washing or something.

Maggie in her favourite spot

As the afternoon progresses, she’ll stretch out a bit.

Stretching out as the shade covers more of the lawn

Oh no, I’ve been spotted!

Oh no!

18 months of Behaviour Assessment Training later...

Maggie, who is a rescue dog, is leash reactive. We presume that’s because she wasn’t socialised properly while growing up. This means she doesn’t get along with other dogs…like, at all. So, when you’re walking her on a leash, she’ll lunge at other dogs when they even start to get close.

But, all that is changing thanks to the Behaviour Adjustment Training (BAT) that Nadia and I have been doing to help Maggie “gain confidence and learn better social skills”.

I was walking Maggie a couple of days ago, for example, when we came across two large-ish, black off-leash dogs who had run out of a house to greet their owner as she brought her weekly shopping in from the car.

These dogs were three houses away but the Maggie-of-old would probably have freaked out, strained on her leash, and potentially lunged at them. (Maggie is scared of big dogs but knows that her best defence is a great offence. The consensus is that she ‘lived rough’ for some time and had to fend for herself in the bush or on the streets before she was rescued.)

The Maggie-of-new, however, did this quick threat assessment:

Maggie in threat-assessment mode.

After which she promptly turned to me and asked for a treat :)

That, in case you’re wondering, is exactly what we’ve been training her to do. We’re happy for her to look, assess the situation, realise that the presence of other dogs doesn’t signal danger, and then disengage to ask for a treat. The presence of a nearby dog should, in fact, make her think ‘treat!’, not ‘danger!’.

It’s taken us about eighteen months of consistent BAT to get her to this place.

We initially tried a different approach to train Maggie, but not long after that Nadia did the research and realised that BAT would be a better course of action. Nadia switched to using that method, but I was too pig-headed to change until Nadia strategically got a trainer to come and tell me what to do. That trainer, by the way, was the excellent Mia Shaw, Head Dog Trainer at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital, who also does private consultations.

Maggie is still not a fan of other dogs, but she’s now MUCH more relaxed in their presence. So much so that she’ll even ignore them at times. That is certainly something worth celebrating.