The story of my Flash pt 2
So a little while ago I wrote part 1 of this blog, see it here this is the second part of Flash’s story.
Flash bounded into my life in August 2014, he was genuinely the biggest Old English Sheepdog I had seen he had the longest legs and the biggest smile. I have told you about his lack of manners with dogs, that he wouldn’t let me groom him, that he’d drag me about on our walks and how he didn’t have bite inhabition.
Now for Flash’s love affair with my parents Old English Sheepdog Todd, His relentless barking when I left him, his eat schedule and dog training.
He’s just so darn handsome!
Todd is the ‘he’ in question, Todd was my parents Old Enghlish Sheepdog he was 5 years older then Flash, a show dog and a mummies boy. Flash absolutely loved Todd and let’s just say the feelings weren’t returned!
Flash would follow Todd about, pestering him to play, getting in his face and barking at him for attention. Flash would just get worked up and get over excited. Todd being the true gentleman he was would ignore him, eventually having to growl at Flash to make him go away.
I will put my hands up here and say I did not handle this in the best way hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t. At the time I would repeatedly tell Flash off and then when his behaviour became too much I would pin him to the floor until he calmed down. Oh that makes me cringe with horror writing that. Eventually Flash calmed down around Todd although it was more to do with him learning dog manners on our walks, dog training and had nothing to do with my telling him off.
So what if I had my time over again to handle this problem what would I do? Well the moment Flash started annoying Todd I would have removed Flash from the room or at the very least away from Todd’s immediate area. I would reward Flash for all his calm polite interactions with Todd. Should Flash have ever got to the point where he was over excited then I would remove him from room, let him calm himself down and then got him to re-focus on me with some training games.
He’s the dog that barks all day!
One day when I returned from work I found a note from my downstairs neighbour, he was complaining that Flash was barking all day long and if it didn’t stop he was going to report me. WTF! I had no clue Flash was doing this, he was quiet when I got home and my dog walker at the time reported nothing and when I did ask he wasn’t aware of Flash’s barking.
Flash like most dogs didn’t like being left alone, he wasn’t use to it. In his former home there was always someone about and if he was left it was for no more then an hour or so. Flash handled his stress at being left by barking the flat down all day and jumping around the flat.
Upset at the thought of being reported, I desperate to find a solution. Thankfully I worked not too far from a well know dog shop in Stockbridge, so I asked them what they thought I should do. They recommended the Kong Classic Toy I bought two!
This fixed the issue first time round! no word of a lie the barking stopped! Happy days. I initially smeared peanut butter inside of the Kong Flash couldn’t get enough of it. Once he was happy licking out the Peanut Butter I started making it a little tougher.
My going out and leaving Flash turned into the best thing ever for Flash because it meant he got his treat filled Kong toy. He also got one when his dog walker left him too. All the mental exercise of working out how to free the treats wore him out.
Over the years I got a few treat puzzle toys for Flash and he was always happy to get them and be left alone.
I am not going eat!
When I first got Flash home and fed him his first meal he ate it all but after that at meal times he would nibble at his food or leave it all together. He was use to free feeding and unfortunately that wasn’t suitable for me (I visisted my parents and their dogs alot, they’re dogs have set meals so free feeding isn’t an option).
Flash use to drool over me while I was eating, so I can only assume that he was use to eating his previous humans food. This would have also left him less inclined to eat his own food.
To stop him lusting after my food, I ignored him when I ate and I most definatley did not share any off it. To get him to eat on my time table I would put his bowl down and if after 5 minutes he hadn’t touched it or he’d nibbled and left it then I lift the bowl up. This meant he couldn’t just help himself and he’d have to wait until the next meal time for some food.
Within days he was eating his food on my timetable. After a while together I did start letting him have my pizza crusts and a few other treats off my plate, but I made sure it was occasional.
With all of Flash’s problems my mum said it would be good to take him to dog training classes. It would help him behave, we’d bond more and I would understand Flashh too. Well Flash and I went through several different classes before finding one that suited us.
First there was the class that handed me a check chain to put on Flash, Physically pushed him into a down to teach him a down and told me Flash was trying to be dominant. Unfortunately for Flash and me I persisted with these classes, knowing what I know now I would of run screaming from the building. The only dog training anyone should do is Reward based training.
There was a class that while it was reward based the instructor was he’ll bent on showing off everything she knew each week. It meant we never actually fully learned anything. Then there was the would-be instructor who read everything off a piece of paper with no clue how to each it or help you along.
Finally we found the wonderful Audrey who not only taught using reward based training but she made it fun for both Flash and I. We learned loads from her and Flash always bounced into the hall each week happy he was back there.
Flash was the best.
Over our first year together Flash and I had some stressful moments, there was tears and barking, biting and ignoring but there was also lots of love, fun and cuddles. I knew I could help Flash with all of his problems and it took time for us both to overcome them, so keeping him was the right thing to do.
Flash became my best friend, where I went then he went. He shared my bed and sofa, he loved giving kisses too. He helped me cope with depression and come to terms with being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Symdrome. Everyone knew Flash where we lived and I was simply known as Flash’s mum!
He is the reason I am now a dog trainer – everyone should have a dog like Flash, he is the reason I love working with rescue dogs and he is my inspiration.
I would do it all again to get Flash back, Flash and I only had 4 and a bit years together he passed away aged 5 from Chronic Liver Disease. He passed in my arms, never to be forgotten.
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