Tag Archives: Charlie brown

We saw a dog…

We saw a dog…

Not a major event in most people’s lives but in Charlie’s? Well, put it this way, for the past few months, Charlie Brown has been undergoing intensive training to rid him of the panic he gets into when another dog approaches him while he is out on the lead.

He has been getting progressively more anxious ever since he was set upon by three dogs, in the woods, when he was a pup. Well, could that be the reason? Maybe.

Anyway, on a walk back in the Spring, we chanced to come face to face with two large dogs. Charlie immediately went into defence mode although neither dog was remotely interested in him, as far as I could see.  Hackles were up, a low growl emanating from his throat that fast became a yelp, culminating in a frantic yapping and snarling. He sprang into action.

Having Flossie to one side of me, I pulled hard on his lead whereupon he turned, presumably to bite at the lead but caught Flossie’s chest instead, knocking her off balance.

As Flossie slid down the embankment into the ditch in surprise, I naturally reached out to haul her back up. In the meantime, this action pulled Charlie towards me and as he spun round in a frenzy,  his teeth caught my calf. Thankfully, no blood was drawn. (It was painful though).

As the two dogs walked by, Charlie calmed down and we walked home, me muttering that his number was up. I was at the point of declaring defeat and handing him over to someone who could cope since this was the second time he had caught me with his teeth on a walk.

However, good sense prevailed and we engaged  a wonderful dog trainer, K9Whisperer, Paul, who witnessed Charlie’s escalating panic for himself.

Convinced we can reverse his behaviour, we have been given strict instructions on how to walk with Charlie who is under the impression he must be the leader on our walks and therefore defend when he is nothing of the kind.  I must teach him that I am the leader.

Right. Simple.

Having been given the techniques needed to help Charlie, I have been taking Floss and him out separately. Charlie goes out wearing a slip-lead which gives me control of his head (we hope). It has been my mission to convince him that I am the leader, so gentle tugs on the slip-lead to bring him back to my side if he strays, have resulted in me being able to walk along with him on a very loose lead at my side. I was advised to take him out at a time when  I was less likely to see other dogs, until this behaviour was embedded.

This initial improvement was accomplished quite quickly. Now it was time to meet other dogs.

All through the summer months, I have been taking Charlie out first and then coming back for Flossie or the other way round. On Charlie’s walk we have not come face to face with any dogs. When I take Flossie out however, we normally meet at least one if not more. It is extraordinary. I have varied the times, I swapped which dog I take first…either the dogs hear Charlie coming and decide to stay away or they just like Flossie better.

Determined to continue with the intensive training, I slipped Charlie’s lead on him yesterday and headed down the road. As we walked I saw a man coming over the brow of the hill. Wait, was that a dog he had with him? Surely not! 

To say I was not a little apprehensive would be wrong. I tried not to let this show of course. First rule: keep calm.

Charlie spotted the little white terrier and his ears pricked up.

I jerked the lead and tapped his rear end to distract him.

Charlie let out a low whine. He attempted rearing up on his hind legs to bark but he nearly strangled himself so thought better of it and obeyed the pull of the lead. I continued to walk, small sounds emanating from Charlie but no yapping, no snarling. The little dog walked by on the other side of the lane, not six feet from us and although I know, it was not perfect, Charlie still has issues, I was so relieved to be able to say,

“We-saw-a-dog and we-are-in-one-piece!”

Better the dog you know…Charlie happily plays with house-guest, Tommy

Flossie in close up
Flossie – everybody’s friend

Flossie and Charlie
Butter wouldn’t melt…


Filed under Living Between the Lines

We’re Going on a Pear Hunt…

Yes, it is that time of year again. The tree that was festooned in blossom in early Spring and provided shade all summer, is now ready to let go its fruit.

This would be good under normal circumstances. The tree is rooted just yards from the back door and the pears it produces are invariably juicy and sweet. There are far too many for us to use ourselves so we give lots away.
We have already handed out bags to hairdresser, daughters and work colleagues…other years have seen us putting boxes of pears outside the barn , on the roadside, for passers by to collect.
This last ploy has always been successful. Many people passing on foot, return with their cars to load a box or two into their boots.
Flossie, a lover of apples, rubber balls, bits of string and anything edible or not, loves pears too. Hence, when the initial few fall, she is first to gobble them. It is up to me to gather the pears before she gets to them. This is not the easiest of tasks.
I have to get ever more observant and compete with Flossie who can hear a pear fall from the other end of the garden. As she stands, begging to go outside, I have to find my boots and squeeze past her substantial frame. In rain or shine, bag in hand, I wander around the tree picking up any pear I may see. I check further afield and only when I am satisfied that I have them all, will I let her out.
At first there are just a few on the ground. Looking up, I can see hundreds dangling in the leaves. One strong wind and they’ll be down. I place the first few in my bag and stow them out of Flossie’s reach. Flossie is eager to get outside and of course, she will find the pear that I missed, the one that rolled into the shrubbery unseen. Ecstatic with her find, she pelts off down the garden to munch on it. The odd pear in her diet, would not be a problem of course. It is the number she eats that turn her into a bloated ball of fluff.

Every morning, I am out there, hunting for pears while Floss and Charlie stare at me from within. One morning, I collected 65 in one fell swoop, the next morning, 97. Since then, there has been a steady stream of fruit which now languishes in bags and boxes and my washing basket (all I had to hand).

A few pears...

A few pears…

More pears...

More pears…

The pear tree

The pear tree

Her favourite time is after dark when she can find all those pears I just cannot see. Replete, bloated and obviously in pain, she lies there panting at the end of the day and invariably, will have an accident on the kitchen floor in the night.

Every year, we have tried to forestall this situation by collecting the pears as they fall. Dave has designed weird and wonderful contraptions, mostly involving netting stretched beneath the tree, but all failed. One year, a branch, laden with fruit, grew too heavy and broke. The resulting hoard was easy to collect and resulted in several boxes set at the roadside for passers-by. If only we could catch all pears so easily!
Alas, our good intentions are thwarted, year after year.

The time has come I am afraid to take action. The pear tree has to go. Sad as we are to chop it down, it is really in the wrong place, so close to the house and in the path of our planned extension. These past weeks of pear hunting have been a pain. Flossie, who had trimmed down so nicely after last year’s feast (yes, it is that bad) is looking bloated and unhealthy again.

Who took all the pears?

Who took all the pears?

So, We’re going on a Pear Hunt one last time…we’re not scared…

*”We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” is a children’s book written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, a favourite with my children and now my grandchildren.


Filed under Living Between the Lines

A Step too Far

The trials and tribulations of Charlie Brown

The world is a strange and scary place for a pup sometimes. Charlie Brown is almost 6 months old … “a big dog in a small body” to paraphrase those who know the breed well.

Charlie Brown

Here I am!

In the house, he is indeed a pocket rocket, living up to his pedigree title. As we relax after a hard day’s work, he zips from room to room, ball in mouth, only stopping to attempt to tease Flossie into playing as he passes.

Charlie brown

Pause for breath…

Sometimes she obliges. Sometimes she ignores him.

Charlie and Flossie

Want to play?

Should I scold Charlie, Flossie is quick to distract him from whatever he has done to annoy me. She will find a toy and lure him away. Her mothering skills are amazing. In fact, Flossie has really come into her own since Charlie arrived. She is definitely the grown up.

Flossie and Charlie Brown

Under control Boss

There was a time when Charlie would not venture far into the garden on his own. Now, he scoots out the door and forages in the bushes for hours, if left. He barks at the dog next door, though Poppy is hidden from view. He barks at the neighbour’s children on the other side, though they too are just sounds behind a six-foot fence. I seem to spend my time calling,
“Charlie, quiet!” “Charlie, come here!”
He comes of course, tail wagging his body in excitement.

He is brilliant with all the grandchildren but does have a special playmate at the moment…

Playing cars

Arthur Bear and Charlie Brown playing cars

Yesterday, I heard a strange crunching coming from the living room. What had he got now? Generally very good, he sticks to chewing his toys but he is not without an opportunistic streak. The sound was very like that of shattering glass.
I left my computer and peered round the corner of the study into the living room. There he was, crunching a DVD – blue ray no less and my eldest son’s copy of “The Hobbit” that he had leant us a while ago. Shards of DVD lay all around and Charlie was happily munching on the remains.
I managed to retrieve the DVD but it was beyond repair. I pieced it together to find out which one it was and groaned. I have ordered a replacement.
Charlie was none the worse for his misdeed, thankfully, and turned his attentions to a child’s plastic watering can in the garden – with which he raced round and round the garden until he tired of that game too.

Today, I thought he was asleep in some far-flung corner of the house with Flossie. Then I heard a muted bark. I checked the living room. I checked the kitchen. I checked all the rooms downstairs and even the garden though I didn’t remember letting him out. Flossie was lying at the foot of the stairs – alone.
I looked up. There was Charlie, peering round the bannisters. This was the first time he had discovered upstairs. Alas, it was evident that having discovered how to get up the stairs, he was unable to come down again.
I carried him down.
He did this twice more and each time had to be carried down. Perhaps it would put him off I thought.
I underestimated him. I have just spotted him on the landing and as I took this photo…

Charlie Brown

That looks steep…

…he legged it down the stairs.
Charlie Brown

Watch out – coming down!

Maybe it is time to put the stair gate up…


Filed under Living Between the Lines, Puptales, Uncategorized