Archive for September, 2010

Walk in the Park

Thanks to everyone who stops and comes over to see Seiben and myself on our travels. The attention and encouragement is really helping Seiben to acclimatise to city living.

He is proving a talented Frisbee dog. Though he brought his Frisbee when he came to stay and made a point of wanting to take it out with us, it wasn’t apparent how deep his passion ran for the sport. Thanks to all the other dogs who come over to watch and have a go with him. It is all  building up his confidence.

One of his problems when he came was pulling like a mad thing while on the lead. This is something we have been working on over the last couple of weeks. And is improving very markedly. But it is a slow calm process to change a behaviour which was so ingrained. So thanks to Zak George.

Another problem I was told Seiben had was barking at solitary figure walking towards him. On the first Sunday we were out together this was noticeable (as well as the pulling). Having been caught on a bridge with someone walking towards us I had to try some distraction technique to prevent this.

We speeded up our walking pace and Seiben didn’t bark. Now I put this down at the time to taking Seiben out of his barking phase, giving him a different set of circumstances to think about. Having watched this video by Emily Larlham, she makes the connection between the aroused state caused by the constant pulling and barking and lunging at people and other dogs.

At no point in Seiben’s training has dominance, punishment or raised voice been used. The most he gets in a negative way is a quite no, ah ah or calm naughty boy. These are used mainly as a part of a distraction. Immediately we try then to put him into a positive reinforcement for doing the behaviour we both want to aspire to.


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Reminded me of the first picture I saw of Seiben.

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C’est La Vie!

As some of the followers of this blog know who me and Seiben meet on our daily travels, Seiben and me are experiencing a little bit of harassment at the moment. For those who don’t know the background, I”l put up a post The Killing of Dougal. At it’s simplest a resident of the block a few weeks ago brought a beautiful 7 year old male Bearded Collie she said she acquired as a rescue dog via the Gumtree site. I fell in love with him straight away, despite having such a neglected and troubled past I could see he was gorgeous.

Three days later the resident told me she had had him put down as he was unsuitable. I did make my displeasure known that I would have had him or sorted out a proper rescue arrangement with experienced assessors who knew the breed and the right rehabilitation programme and loving care to sort him out.

Last week I was doing a acclimatization exercise with Seiben which consisted of sitting quietly in the flat with all the windows open so he could hear all the noises of the city. People shouting, car horns, dogs barking, buses going passed, car engines being revved, screeching tyres, customers from the kebab shop below, sounds from other residents of the block of flats etc. I do not react to them so he takes his cue off me and does not react either. His calm state is then rewarded. This the state he needs to be in in the flat.

This is not being cruel or oppressive. On the North Inch twice a day he is running off lead, either indulging his passion for Frisbee or playing and learning with other dogs. At other times he is in an intermediate stage while walking and exploring the city and its inhabitants.

So while we are doing this acclimatization exercise the girl from the downstairs flat comes home. First of all she starts doing DIY at 11.30pm. Sawing and hammering the walls. At midnight she starts practising on her drum kit. All experience for Seiben as he learnt or rather experienced a nice settled calm state in the most extreme circumstances.

But it wasn’t over. At nearly 1am she starts banging on her ceiling really hard with something solid, shaking my whole floor and flat. The antagonism has continued. Monday night/ Tuesday morning at 1.30am there was a loud knocking on the door. Someone had sent the noise enforcement officers to tell me a complaint had been made about the noise coming from my flat. The other residents have admitted they never hear me or Seiben. A few weeks a go we did a noise test to see at what level my stereo couldn’t be heard in the other flats late on a very quiet Tuesday night. The volume when the council arrived was half that.

Today at 3pm in the afternoon when I was vacuuming the carpet she started banging on her ceiling again. I had to sit all afternoon working on the computer in silence unable to put the TV or music on, while her music filtered through the floor. When I got up to take Seiben out and we started walking around, again she started banging on the ceiling and screaming abuse.

What she may be doing is trying to provoke Seiben to bark in order to make trouble for us by then reporting us to the council. This is despite she has a young Spaniel pup, (the replacement for the dog she had killed), which yaps and none of us complain.

Many who have seen Seiben change from the nervous, lacking in confidence dog of just over a week ago have been impressed by by how hard he has worked to become the calm and elegant WBC he is now. All his work is now at risk by a malicious and provocative campaign. At present we are living under siege and stress.

Apparently because I feel I rightly expressed my displeasure at somebody killing a beautiful dog because they wouldn’t give it the chance or opportunity to become the dog it wanted to be.

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Seiben Update 21st September

To: Bearded Collie Club of Scotland (Rescue)
Subject: WBC Seiben 
Seiben had an intensive weekend of activity including preparation and taking part in the Kennel Club Bronze award Good Citizen on Saturday. Followed by a trip to the Bearded Collie Club (Scotland Branch) show at Alva on Sunday. Ending by free running in woods for the first with Tully (Talraz Trail Blazer).
Expecting a hiatus from Monday onwards from his development trajectory. Seiben exhibited the greatest change in his behaviour, He did not frantically rush about on my waking requiring me to immediately go out with him. He was calm and placid allowing me to wash and have breakfast etc before taking him out.
As I had an early appointment we could only do a short walk yet Seiben did all his toilet needs within five minutes and 100 yds of the flat. Quite happy to return without a long walk.
Later when we went for our training and Frisbee exercises the most noticeable change was him deciding not to pull as much anymore and at times walking with either loose leash or a tension I could control with one finger pressure. This I attribute to the preparatory work for the Bronze Award, but most significantly the opportunity to attend the Alva show and see other calm dogs on leads and the need to be on good and calm behaviour so not as to upset the other dogs and also be friendly, social and well mannered when many people came to see him.
Monday evening I made the decision not to take the Frisbee to the North Inch and just walk him after the excitement and learning process of the weekend. This was modified by meeting Sally who did get the Bronze at the Good Citizen on Saturday and her 2 year old border collie bitch, Jura who was running free. 
Building on the experience he gained from free running with Tully I decided to take advantage of the opportunity Jura offered and allowed Seiben to run with her in a park with other dogs running free, dogs on leads, people playing ball games, joggers and cyclists. Seiben responded exceptionally and mirroring Jura’s training and obedience, recalled and came close at every opportunity when needed.
Though matched almost exactly in height, Jura as an older dog was a slightly more stocky and dominant dog, but I permitted Seiben to experience the rough and tumble of interacting with another herding dog. Seiben responded well and it was a pleasure to see two herding dogs with one another on open grass.
Later the were joined by a very large retired/rehomed/rescue greyhound (Danny) who wanted some of the action the two collies were involved in. Seiben at first curious to the size of the ‘small pony’ that had come to join them. All three were very content in each others company.
Seiben seems happy with his diet of porridge in the morning and Chappie and mixer in the evening with a small quantity of what I eat. As he may now be using more energy than previous, I have started giving him a couple of raw ribs daily to supplement his existing diet.
Seiben I presume because of his looks and size has become a magnetic for many toddlers. Seiben is very calm to almost indifference to them. In reciprocation of parents wanting their toddler to see ‘the doggie’ they have allowed their children to feed Seiben from their hand directly cheese or part digestive biscuits. With Seiben having to experience numerous and often unexpected attention from children I feel this is the best route for part of his socialisation and acclimatization to city life.
Roger Thomas
56/4 West Mill Street
07946 033503

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The Celtic Lion Review of the Week 3rd September 2010

Well it has been an interesting and full week. First having just moved into new premises, Celtic Lion would like to thank the kind donation of an internet connection. Here are some of the results.

Many know that having worked on the set up of the UK climate models which contributed to the 2007 Nobel Prize I have been critical of the way they were set up and the results. Change in the weather is a review of the media this week on the subject.

Stephen Hawking this week dismissed the need for God in the creation of the Universe. This is our response on the subject. Our highest ranked page of the week with over 100 views in the first 24 hours. It relates cosmology with sustainable planetary management. The contained links may be of interest.

Heard this artist on Radio 2 Steve Wright in the Afternoon. Beautiful voice, interesting background and lyrics.

Had a conversation last week about the mathematician John Nash, him of the Russell Crowe film Beautiful Mind. Here is an article from our sister site Applied Planetary Engineering, written in the ranting style of the Scottish blogosphere at the time. Again it is links within links, go as far as you want. some may not work as we have not checked for 3 years

Well it has been a big week for dog psychology for me with a guest staying. Here is our highest rated article on the subject and more. Part of Ruskin’s legacy Page 4. More than just psychology, it covers part of the history and ecology of Perthshire, so may be of interest outside the dog world. For those with dogs it may just help prevent you losing your dog.

And finally as a result of the correspondence as regards the above my friend sent me this picture. Cutest dog picture of the week. All say aahh.

Thanks, have a good weekend


Celtic Lion 07946 033503

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Maria Mena: Love the Voice

Here’s Celtic Lion’s music of the week a couple of tracks from Maria Mena.

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