Cooper, sable english cocker spaniel / how dogs understand our words and conversations / how to talk to your dog / Perfect cocker spaniel blog & book (C) Natalia Ashton

Conversations with my dogs

It’s been a while since it happened for the first time, but I still remember that moment clearly. A passer-by turned his head, looked at me and said “Pardon?” “Oh, I am just talking to my dog”, I said. He glanced at Oscar… his eyes travelled from the smiling face of my furry boy down and then up back to me. The man was definitely a cat person. Otherwise he’d probably join our little chat or smile back at my boy. Instead the guy rolled his eyes and walked away.

And so did we… enjoying our morning stroll and conversation. Oscar was a very good listener. Coop and Fred turned out to be the same. My little ears and confidants.

I thought about it yesterday when me and Coop went out for a little walk together. Coop is a talker. He may not speak human, but he surely compensates that minor inability with his facial expressions and certain sounds. Talking to him never feels like a one-way conversation. It’s always, always a proper chat.

How much he understands? I don’t know. He reads my emotions like a trained psychologist and interprets any gestures with an expert precision. But the words?

All my boys have a certain vocabulary. They know a bunch of words and cues. And just like all dogs they pay the most attention to the first word they hear and any new words that I suddenly use. The rest of the speech is more like a blurry noise, really. Though it doesn’t stop us enjoying our dialogues. The more time we spend together observing each other and learning our little habits, the more fulfilled our conversations become.

It’s more than words. It’s our little bauble of a world where nobody else matters. Including cat people and those who aren’t prepared to listen to a dog who always had a story to share.

Photo: Coop photographed by me

 

Life in the country, Lincolnshire / poppy field / Perfect cocker spaniel (c) blog / English cocker spaniel puppy advice and tips book for first time puppy parents / photo by Natalia Ashton

Living in a moment

This is how I want to remember September. The mellow air, the endlessness and us, walking through the fields every day. As much as we can, as far as we can manage. Living in a moment and enjoying every second of life without making plans.

I snapped this photo with my phone for the memories as we came across a bunch of poppies. The pups waited patiently while I got down to get a perfectly imperfect shot.

And then we continued walking in a middle of the vast space, just the three of us…

This week we will…

My idea of a perfect day is sticking to a schedule, following a certain routine and making sure to address certain habits of mine… Some may say it sounds like an obsessive compulsive behaviour. But I think it’s a behaviour that I’ve naturally developed because we have our boys – and the boys do love a good old routine, especially Coop.

I am also a lover of list making. I don’t get paranoid about it, but I do enjoy making a list of weekly tasks because ticking them off gives a pleasant sensation of satisfaction.

So I thought I’d try to create a post in a manner of those list and see if we can complete it by Sunday. It will be good to keep me focused – and create the best and most enjoyable week for the boys. There’s always hope and positive thinking, right?

This week I would like to…

… continue with our long walks, so at least once a day we are out there in the fields for an hour or longer (we have two walks a day whatever the weather);

… get some new toys for the pups – some of our Foxies are looking a bit too “distressed” and need updating; besides, who would not love a bunch of new toys?!

… perfect a behaviour Coop and Fred do well, but Fred could do a bit better. I choose the loose lead walking regardless of the location (both are really good, but can start pulling a little when is really excited about new places or scents);

… learn a new trick: I’ve just started teaching him “Hide”, which mean they both sit behind me (useful if we meet a strange dog or I need to keep them safe from the passing car, especially if it can splash us with dirty water);

… play “find food” sniffing game every evening – it’s one of their favourite things of all times;

… do something that makes them feel brilliant – as funny as it sounds, the boys love to post for the camera, so I would like to take them out for an individual “photoshoot”, so we can have a bit of fun;

… complete our “monthly groom” – both need a bit of a trim and Fred – a handstrip. Luckily for me, they love it;

… order some window privacy film – at the moment the pups have the full view of the street and I feel that it makes Coop anxious at times, so he ends up barking.

Photo: Cooper & Fred photographed by me