Maggie wasn’t feeling her best last night so we started this morning’s walk with a solid three minutes of grass eating. Sensible doggo.
Silver lining of working from home when you’re unwell: the dog snoring gently in the corner of the room :)
I can hear Nadia doing something in the other room.
Not quite, but almost.
Hey…are you sure it's not dinner time yet?
Maggie waits outside the bathroom door for Nadia to finish getting dressed so they can go for a walk.
Maggie prods me to get out of bed so I can take her for a walk.
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.
Turns out this often the first thing Nadia sees when she wakes up in the morning :)
Of course mornings aren’t the only times Maggie and I cuddle on the bed.
If you want more photos of (mostly) Maggie you should definitely follow Nadia on Instagram.
I’ve hopped on to the bed and am lying on your arm so you can scritch me, and you're taking a photo? Honestly! — Maggie, this morning
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.
As the afternoon progresses, she’ll stretch out a bit.
Oh no, I’ve been spotted!
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:
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.
Sofa time with Maggie.
Chillin' on the sofa wit ma hoomin on a Sunday afternoon.
This is Maggie’s “Oh no! Nadia wasn’t just getting dressed for nothing, she really is leaving by the front door now” face. Puppy is not pleased.
I tried my Google Pixel 3XL phone’s portrait mode on Maggie. The results were excellent!
Cronch, cronch, cronch.
Here’s what I shared on Instagram in January 2019. (ICYMI, starting this year I’ll be cross-posting everything I post to Instagram to this blog.)
We had a super hot start to 2019. Maggie, being a very Australian dog, loves the heat.
When the weather is nice, though, we all like to hang out in the garden.
Maggie loves her rope toy.
January saw the start of #SlowSummer on SBS.
Nadia and I went to the Australia Open tennis tournament, where every year we take a selfie.
Melbourne went through three-ish heat waves in January. The last series of hot days ended with rain showers across the city. I work on the 29th floor of a building in the Docklands that has great views.
I finally got around to buying a quality Panama hat. Which, of course, meant that I had to take a selfie while wearing it :)