Dog Blog #30 – Catching Flies?

With a part-time paid gig for the next few weeks, I am discovering exactly what it is like working from home with a pup in tow. Looming deadlines approach at different milestones so I have to focus on the screen for a certain number of hours a day. So far this week Margot has been pretty good at letting me get on with it.

Throughout the day I do sense deep exhales of breath when she sees my eyes are focused on a screen yet again rather than on her, but such is life at the moment. It does mean that our pup has to amuse herself more often than usual and thank goodness for the sunny weather so she can mooch about in the garden. When she comes into the kitchen to check in from time to time (yes, I am still working downstairs) and places her head in my lap, it is really lovely. We still have the hour-long walk in the morning to break up the day and give us both some much needed exercise in the fresh air.

They escape every time…

I titled this week’s blog ‘Catching flies?’ because I have noticed Margot doing her utmost to try and swipe and bite at the pesky insects recently. Unfortunately, it’s one of the downsides of the warmer, sunnier months – and I really dislike both the buzzing and the unhygienic nature of bluebottles and their friends. With the dining room doors left open to give Margot more freedom, the flies also have ample opportunity to enter the house as they so wish.

Watching our pup trying to entrap them with her mouth is hilarious – and sadly they evade her efforts every time. It would be such an advantage if she could catch a few. Instead I shall have to replace the batteries in our Insectinator, a device which looks like a small child’s tennis racket with metal strings, which emit an electric charge when you press the button on the handle. It lives in the garage throughout the winter. (I’ve also witnessed Margot chasing bees when we are out walking – now these insects I am pleased she has no chance of catching for a number of reasons! Just think about the possible consequences…)


Margot and I were happily enjoying the afternoon sunshine – as you can see in the photos above – before the sky turned dark and aggressive and I knew there was going to be a heavy downpour. After quickly taking in the washing, we retreated indoors to wait for the rain to arrive. As far as I was aware, the change in the weather hadn’t been forecast, so I was a bit surprised to hear the rumblings which were actually rather loud and angry.

Knowing that dogs can be frightened by loud noises: fireworks, thunderstorms and gunshots, there was a concern that Margot might find the storm alarming. (Although isn’t she classed as a gun dog?) Anyway, she was a very small puppy around the time of November 5th last year, and the fireworks didn’t really bother her then. The storm didn’t bother her this time either. Margot sat by the dining room doors watching the rain pour down and didn’t flinch when the thunder rolled around outside. Phew.

Time for a run yet?

What’s the best time to start taking your dog out for a run with you? I’m not asking for me, but on J’s behalf. He’s very keen to start taking Margot out to run alongside him when he jogs around the countryside. Looking at the pictures below, I would say that our pup is definitely ready, but we probably need to take a bit more guidance on the subject.

Runner’s World has an excellent article I found about running with your dog. In short, don’t start too young, don’t go out too hard or too fast. Just like walking, it is something that needs building up to and careful training. J may still have to pause for a few months because we have to wait until Margot’s bones stop growing: ‘This takes about nine months in small dogs, while large breeds may grow for up to 16 months.’ Our medium-sized labradoodle is probably somewhere in the middle – although she has recently passed the nine-month threshold.

New favourite chews?

The other weekend, J came back from the local pet shop with a new larger tennis ball (which was destroyed within minutes) and one of these Yakers dog chews. Up to this point we haven’t really gone down the dog chew route, apart from the deer antler which was quite a hit. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect. When I tried it this week, Margot chewed on it for over an hour in the garden. She wouldn’t let me anywhere near her. Each time I tried to approach her for a photo opportunity, Margot backed off, probably worried I was going to try and take her new, tasty treat away from her.

Whittled down to two smaller pieces after its first outing, I’m not sure I would describe it as ‘extra long lasting’ but maybe I needed to control the time she was allowed to chew on it at one time. I’ve seen reviews on Amazon which state that Yakers dog chews last weeks with their dog, so I must have left her with it for too long. Still, it was a huge success so it has been added to our monthly Amazon subscription for regular chewing action in the future. I would highly recommend this brand.

Margot says…

It’s been a warm week. The big people are still offering me water when we are out on a walk, which I refuse. Can’t they see that drinking from the muddy puddles is much more enticing?

I’ve started swimming in the bigger stretches of water on our walks, partly because it’s fun but also because it cools me down on hot days. I suppose it’s not really swimming as my feet always touch the bottom but it’s good to have a splash about.

Why do dogs shake even when they aren’t wet?

Last week I said I would explore this concept as Margot shakes quite a bit – after we have stroked or cuddled her, when she has her harness put on and quite often when we are out walking. Some websites I have consulted mention that it is a reaction to stress, either from another dog interaction or even from a human. It could also be down to sensory overload.

According to ‘a shaking puppy can be and is most often completely normal. There are actually quite a few reasons for why they can shake, like for being too cold, wet, scared or they even shake away a bit of stress or excitement … they quite literally attempt to shake it off!’ That sounds like our Margot as she is always full of exuberance.

Next week… how to keep our pup cool and happy in the increasing warm weather.

Please feel free to comment, share and spread the word.

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