Thursday, September 26, 2013

Getting to Know Nigel

Even though we have had Nigel as part of our family since January 3, we never got to spend any time alone with him.  We had a random day here and there when Maggie went to day care and Nigel stayed home and we went to obedience class, but never a month straight of just hangin' with Nigel.

Though we have missed Miss Maggie greatly while she learns to mind her manners, this has been a wonderful opportunity to spend some real quality time with The Dude (one of his newer nicknames, not to be confused with "Mr. Pants" or "The Pants"...not even sure where that one came from).

We started a new obedience class and Nigel has been doing wonderfully!  Though many see it as controversial, we're using a pinch collar during his training and we'll wean him off of it in about 6 weeks or so.  He's doing really well and we both feel like we're communicating like we never have before.  

So, what have we learned about Nigel during our month o' Nigel?

- He's a huge bed hog, even when Maggie's not here!
- Nigel loves all kinds of food, including cucumbers, mango, peach, carrots.  Pretty much everything.
- His energy level is MUCH lower than Maggie's and he's mostly a big giant couch potato.
- He has the CUTEST tendency to stretch out all frog-leg like but while he is still sitting if you scratch his back, it's adorable but hard to describe.  We'll try to get a video!

Overall, I forgot how much calmer life can be with just one dog.  There's no bounding, playful wrestling and the couch has much more room.  We're so grateful to have the chance to work with Nigel on his obedience skills and give him some good, individual loving!

Lastly, a Maggie update!  Miss Mags has done BEAUTIFULLY at her Board and Train.  She finished the basic obedience skills within the first week and a half and then after, she worked on socializing with all kinds of dogs and being patient around other dogs.  Then, they ventured out with her into the real world to places like Starbucks to help Maggie get over her "staring" issue (when she sees dogs, even if she doesn't bark and pull, she stares real hard).  They have assured us that after working with her though, her barking and pulling reactivity when seeing other dogs is fairly eliminated.  WOOHOO!  She's been a favorite there, I think, but hey, who could blame them?!

Many pictures to come from our reunion this coming week!!!!


  1. Nigel sounds a lot like Norman. He is super calm and even much calmer when Kaya is not around. I used a pinch collar on Kaya way back when and it was so helpful. I didn't need it after a few weeks and now I don't even leash her:)

    I can't wait to hear about Maggie's return!

  2. Yay for getting to know Nigel better this month! We always talk about how (for us) Edison has never been a single dog.

    We use a prong collar on Ed most of the time. While we're really trying to use it less frequently, it was a tool that was a HUGE groundbreaker in our progress with Ed. We use it responsibly and correctly, and most importantly, it makes Ed a better citizen.

    The Board and Train program is interesting. So glad you've gotten positive results. Do you work with her current trainers after her boarding period to teach you guys the skills she's learned and how to keep her skills fresh?

  3. So great to hear someone else successfully using pinch collars for training! Yesterday, he waited at the door and I was barely holding his leash. He's such a good dude. :-)

  4. Nigel sounds like one cool dude! And, I'm glad Maggie is doing better.

    Boomer went through obedience school with a pinch collar and did well. We still put it on him when we walk him just in case but he never really needs it... I think it's a security blanket for me.

    Dottie on the other hand doesn't even seem to notice when you put a pinch collar on her, she pulls no matter what and chokes herself which is why we are now working harder with her, I've even signed her up for a class on walking nicely.

    Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom

    1. Yeah, the pinch collar is a godsend on Nigel! I'm shocked we didn't try it until now but I didn't want to use it in the wrong way (ie without someone telling me exactly what to do) and possibly hurt him. I'm so glad we've tried it with him! Evidently, Maggie is also on a pinch for now and we'll try to wean her from it also. It's so helpful because they're both so darn strong that when they pull normally, we're helpless!

    2. Yep - we got a lot of input from different trainers and internet sources about the correct use of them. I know a lot of people think they are "bad", but if it allows me to take my dog out, make positive progress with him, and socialize him while in control, I think it's a great tool. Sure we're looking forward to the day when he is perfect on a flat-buckle (CGC!), but we're just not consistently there yet!

      WAY TO GO on progress! Looking forward to an update on Maggie!