Alfie Staffie DOB 05.09.04 - 13.03.18

In loving memory ...
mod2
Posts: 11374
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Re: Alfie Staffie DOB 05.09.04 Orpington

Post by mod2 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:27 pm

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 by lonewolf7

Just a quick update for any Alfie followers. He's doing very well and has settled into a regular routine during the week. He's up with me at 6.20 every morning, which he's not too happy about, and I lift him into the front seat of the car. Normally he would jump in, but at that time of the morning I don't think his muscles are warmed up enough. Either that or he's just a lazy fella and he prefers me to pick him up!

It's only a 5 minute drive to Vicky's mum's and he has a quick scoot round the garden to go to the loo. Once inside I point up the stairs and say "Up you go" and he goes straight up. Sometimes he stops at the turn in the stairs to look for me and I just tell him to carry on. He's then straight into Vicky's mum's bedroom where he sits by the side of the bed waiting for a Rich Tea biscuit. Once he's eaten that he jumps on the bed and settles down for another 2 or 3 hours sleep.....lucky him!

He spends his days following Vicky's mum round the house, but particularly the garden. Usually he just observes, plays with his Kong or one of his half-destroyed handballs. His favourite time is when pruning is happening in the garden as he gets to grab branches and sticks, drag them around, and then spend a while chewing and destroying them. One of the funniest sights is to be sitting on the patio when suddenly Alfie will appear from round the side of the house carrying a branch about three times the size of himself!

In the evenings he comes back to our house where we continue to try and socialise him with our cat. It's going to take a while, and even if it doesn't work out we can manage the situation.

Alfie continues to enjoy long walks in areas where there aren't off-lead dogs. Alfie has a history of dog aggression but interestingly there is no way I would class him as an aggressive dog. What I have noticed is that he very quickly picks up on the body language of other dogs. If other dogs come towards him in a calm sociable state he remains calm. On the other hand, if dogs display agrression or excitement towards him he will react similarly. But in almost all cases it is a response to the other dog. Walking the same streets can become monotonous so I am going to take him to Knole Park in Sevenoaks. It is full of deer, and for that reason all dogs must be kept on a lead. So it means we can spend a long time wandering a new environment without worrying about off lead dogs.

Last weekend we took him down to Somerset. Vicky and her sister had volunteered at a horse and dog show for a Racehorse Rehoming Centre. My plan was to stay at the show with them and maybe enter Alfie in a competition. However, Alfie was getting a little revved up by the horses, especially when they were jumping against the clock. When the horses were standing around he was fine, but he's a dog who very much picks up on the energy around him. When the horses started thundering around he was getting a little worked up himself. So I decided to whisk him off to Lyme Regis for the afternoon. We arrived to see the lifeboat being launched, strolled along the seafront (where there were lots of on-lead dogs), through the landscaped gardens, dodged a couple of big downpours, and back to the car.

The next day we visited Forde Abbey and gardens where, as you will see from the pictures, Alfie got a taste of the high life. He's got a nice garden to run around in at home but I hope he doesn't expect anything better after his trip to the abbey!

I've previously mentioned the polarised "Staffie reaction" that can be apparent. We were one of the first people to arrive at the abbey on Sunday and as we walked out to the gardens and across the croquet lawn a rather well-educated voice called out, "Look...a Staffie". In a knee jerk reaction, and expecting that the person might be a bit concerned, Vicky responded by saying, "He is a nice one." And the wonderful response from the owner (as it turned out) of Forde Abbey was, "I'm sure he is.....ALL staffies are nice." It just shows that Staffie awareness is all about education.

Needless to say the welcome we received at Forde Abbey left a very favourable impression on us. The gardens were magnificent and a lovely place to stroll with your dog. I would certainly recommend it if you are in that region (near Chard and Axminster): http://www.fordeabbey-gardens-dorset.co.uk/

Here he is resting in the hotel room:
Image

Strolling around Forde Abbey gardens:
Image

Lord Alfie of Orpington surveying his grounds!
Image

Patiently waiting for a piece of scone.....
Image

And patiently waiting for a bit of roast beef from my Dad when we got home....
Image

Needless to say my Dad, who is most definitely NOT a dog person, is slowly succumbing to Alfie's charms. He even asks me if the dog is okay when he calls me now!

mod2
Posts: 11374
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Re: Alfie Staffie DOB 05.09.04 Orpington

Post by mod2 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:27 pm

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 by Nina

Oh so enjoyed reading that, thank you so much, thats all of you

mod2
Posts: 11374
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Re: Alfie Staffie DOB 05.09.04 Orpington

Post by mod2 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:28 pm

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 by lonewolf7

More Alfie news. He's doing fantastically well and enjoying plenty of exercise. We've found two more places of interest that are perfect for dogs like Alfie.....lovely locations but where dogs are required to be kept on a lead. These are much more local for RR people as opposed to the previous find in Somerset! The first is the National Pinetum at Bedgebury http://www.bedgeburypinetum.org.uk/ which requires dogs to be kept on a lead within the pinetum, although they are allowed off-lead in the wider Bedgebury forest. I didn't get any photos of Alfie in the pinetum but the other place of interest where I did get photos is Knole Park near Sevenoaks where dogs must be kept on lead because of the deer within the park http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knole/

I've also started taking Alfie to training and socialisation classes every Saturday and he's doing really well. There are three main aspects to the classes: obedience training, agility, and socialisation / group activities. I explained Alfie's history to the trainer and we originally began with a two hour individual consultation. Alfie is a natural for the obedience training. He has learned sit and stays, down and stays, recalls, walking to heel really well etc. He had no idea of a "down" at first but picked it up in no time at all. The trainer commented how good Staffies are at learning quickly. Alfie has also had his first go at agility training and some of it was good and some of it was comical.....mainly due to my ineptitude as a trainer! It's a work in progress but I think Alfie has potential.

The third aspect of socialisation was very interesting. I am very interested in this because Alfie came with a reputation and I have always been quite wary of not allowing him to get into difficult situations. The first exercise was to put Alfie (muzzled) into an enclosed exercise area with the trainers' ex-Police sniffer dog. He asked me what I thought would happen and I didn't believe Alfie would immediately attack for no reason - however I said that I also didn't believe Alfie had the social skills to cope with a dog coming too close or playing with him. And he behaved pretty much as expected. He did do some initial polite sniffing but as the other dog became a bit more friendly Alfie became a little less sociable and displayed some dominance posturing. The trainer commented that Alfie wasn't in a situation he found comfortable. In short, he didn't know how to socialise and play. The following week in the first class proper he went into the enclosure with a young retriever who was very keen on play and although this began well the younger dog's energy fired Alfie up and he did become aggressive although he was snapped out of it by the trainer and his recall to me in the midst of it was quite good. Last weekend Alfie again went in with the retriever and then the trainer brought Alfie out into the large field (still muzzled of course) for a sort of off-lead group walk with the retriever and three GSD's (one of which was muzzled). We walked around in a group and we were all told just to drop the leads and let the dogs mingle. Alfie wasn't too bad initially, although he didn't seem interested in playing. There was some good sniffing and then Alfie decided to wrap his paws around the neck of a GSD and there was a bit of a spat. The trainer stepped in immediately and I have total confidence in what he is doing. He said the sessions are going really well and he now wants me to step in and correct Alfie's behaviour when I see it escalating. It's a real education for me too because I am starting to learn about dogs' body language.

The venue is actually very close to the Kent showground so I am hoping to attend Paws In The Park on Saturday morning before going to the class at lunch time. Vicky and her sister are coming this week so hopefully we'll get some pictures at the class.

Anyway, an update is no good without pictures so here's a few of Alfie in Knole Park.

"Where are those deer I heard about?"
Image

"I know they are here somewhere....."
Image

"Bingo......"
Image

"Time for a stealthy approach....."
Image

"Hmmm.....why won't he let me off that lead?"
Image

mod2
Posts: 11374
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Re: Alfie Staffie DOB 05.09.04 Orpington

Post by mod2 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:29 pm

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 by Sam007

I really enjoyed reading your update on Alfie's progress with the training classes. I bet your heart was in your mouth when he got the GSD round the neck with his paws!!

Good luck with the training classes (especially socialization); I'm sure with the right direction and good leadership skills, Alfie will begin to relax around dogs.

He is looking particularly handsome.

mod2
Posts: 11374
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Re: Alfie Staffie DOB 05.09.04 Orpington

Post by mod2 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:29 pm

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 by Hoonercat

That's a great update Colin, those social classes sound like they're benefiting the both of you, it must have been quite nerve-wracking for you both when Alfie was first put in with another dog.
We've also been to Bedgebury a few times, once with Buddie, and it is great for dogs (and kids). They do a superb light show near Bonfire night, always good for us as there are no fireworks to upset Tia. Haven't tried Knole Park yet but will add it to my list thanks

mod2
Posts: 11374
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Re: Alfie Staffie DOB 05.09.04 Orpington

Post by mod2 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:30 pm

Posted: 19 Sep 2012 by Haylecakes

blob.gif So pleased for him and you guys. Bedgebury is 10mins from my house if ever you want to walk over the farm here let me know x

mod2
Posts: 11374
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Re: Alfie Staffie DOB 05.09.04 Orpington

Post by mod2 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:31 pm

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 by Paul&Annie


We had the pleasure of some lovely cuddles with Alfie today. We also go to the same training class and there was a fun competition today. As Alfie has only just started he just came to watch and socialise, but I did see him at his first class he came to and we were so impressed with him that I am sure he will be winning rosettes at the next competition.

I looked up Alfie's thread and at first I didn't think I'd found the right one as I didn't recognise him. By the end of the forum thread was the dog I saw today. He is nothing like those first photos. He has the filled out muscles of a dog that gets a lot of exercise and gone is the sad face.

Alfie is now a happy, relaxed dog and clearly central to his owners lives. At the training class we watched recently Alfie really stood out not just for his amazing looks but also for the focus he has on his owner, the trust he has in him which has clearly given Alfie confidence and the communication between them.

I saw Alfie's first opportunity to try agility. He thought it was a great game to play with his owner and I think he will do really well at it.

A great example of what the best kind of home can do for a dog. I hope to see more of Alfie.

mod2
Posts: 11374
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Re: Alfie Staffie DOB 05.09.04 Orpington

Post by mod2 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:32 pm

Posted: 16 Oct 2012 by lonewolf7

Thanks for the kind words regarding Alfie's homing and progress. We certainly feel like the lucky ones to have him.

With Vicky's sister between jobs at the moment Alfie is generally getting two long walks a day. It will require more effort on our part when she starts work again because at the moment we are coming home to a dog who has had plenty of exercise. Eventually Alfie and I will have to get used to some colder walks at 6.30pm every day. He's also had plenty of opportunity to help with the gardening....although his idea of helping is to just drag sticks, bushes, cuttings, and brooms around the garden. Last week he helped dig the runner beans out of the vegetable patch. Unfortunately there are no pictures but the report we received was that he was covered in mud and had to be carried to the bath to be rinsed off!

We attended Paws In The Park a few weeks ago and spent a bit of time at the Rescue Remedies stall. All three of us had a go at the egg and spoon race with Alfie, but fortunately the only pictures that got taken were on Vicky's run.

Vicky did an excellent job - not only balancing the ball on the spoon, but also balancing her sunglasses on the end of her nose......
Image

I think Alfie is thinking, "I'm doing my part here.....don't you drop that ball!"
Image

Phew....not a world record time but we made it!
Image

The same afternoon we went of to Alfie's training class at but he had earned a couple of treats before we set off.....

Image

Image

After an afternoon of training and agility he's always ready for an afternoon nap when he's finished.

Image

We were back at the training classes again this weekend and I finally managed to get some pictures. As mentioned before there are three main aspects to the classes. Alfie is doing really well in the obedience, and to be honest he is so easy to train he is making me look good! His sits and stays are superb, his down is getting better, and his recall is excellent.

Image
Image
Image
Weaving is testing my agility as much as his and at the moment it still requires a bit of food to get the job done!

Image

Image

He's pretty much mastered the A-frame and no longer needs food to coax him over this. I just need to make sure I keep up so that he doesn't fall off the side!

Image

Image

I don't have any pictures because it needs two people at either end but he's also getting the hang of the tunnels. At the moment it's all done with him on a training line because we don't want him running off towards other dogs on other obstacles.

Which also brings us on to his socialisation. The aim is to have a dog who can join in the group walk at the classes and do the agility without him getting involved in any incidents. In the group walk there are generally 7 or 8 dogs. Out of those the only two bad boys who need to be muzzled are Alfie and Dennis (a large German Sheperd). Two weeks ago Dennis was the badly behaved one and just went straight up to Alfie and had a go at him. For the rest of the class Alfie behaved quite well and did some good sniffing with some of the other dogs. However, last week Alfie was the instigator when he aggressively went for Dennis twice in the space of a few minutes. The difficult part is that Alfie has no concept of playing with another dog. He can do some sociable sniffing but if another dog comes up to his face to play he flicks immediately to aggressive mode. I am learning to spot the body language, and he does listen to correction, but I would say that we are a long way from our goal. To be honest though that isn't the main goal anyway.....it would be a nice bonus from the classes if it happened.

Overall though the calsses are providing me and Alfie with a lot of fun, some high quality training, and plenty of mental stimulation. Saturdays are most definitely action days now!

This weeks class started with a horrendous hail storm and we all had to run for cover. But eventually the day turned out sunny, and after getting back to my parents house Alfie enjoyed some fussing in the sunshine from my daughter before winter properly arrives.

Image

There was a final walk of the weekend on Sunday when Alfie decided to take his Kong with him. Well for half the walk anyway until he decided he didn't want it anymore and I had to carry it!!!

I think you'll agree that he's looking rather splendid.....

Image

mod2
Posts: 11374
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Re: Alfie Staffie DOB 05.09.04 Orpington

Post by mod2 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:33 pm

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 by lonewolf7

Thought it was about time for another update. Alfie is continuing to do really well. He's generally on two long walks per day during the week, and has fun-filled weekends on top of that (incorporating more long walks and his training classes on Saturdays). He was recently moved up from the beginners class to one with dogs who are more advanced in their training than he is. The standard looks quite daunting when you see what some of the other dogs are able to do, but he's learning quite quickly. His lead walking is one of his strongest points, and at home now I walk him around the quieter streets with the lead attached around my waist. It's now possible to control his walking to heel, stopping at junctions etc. using voice alone and I feel pretty proud of him when I'm walking along hands free! Fortunately I'm quite heavy so if he does see a cat there is no chance of him pulling me over.......

He's doing well on the agility although he can become focused on other dogs running around so for now he is still on a training line just in case. He continues to be muzzled during the off-lead group walk but last week he did more friendly sniffing than ever before. His only "yellow card" was when he went for a younger dog who was rolling on his back and the trainer remarked that it was just "insecurity". I will follow that up and see what he exactly meant.

Anyway, most importantly.....pictures.......

Here he is waiting for Vicky to emerge from the local shop:
Image

And here's one of his funny sleeping positions. He likes to sit upright and have his chest rubbed but then his eyes start drooping and he falls asleep like a baby in a high chair!
Image

On Sunday the weather had thankfully improved so we took him off to Knole Park. All dogs need to be on leads because of the deer but this time we took him on a long extender. We had a quick detour to the local waste dump and here he is in the car:
Image

Getting Alfie to pose for pictures is not easy, but once we got to Knole Park we found a nice log for him to strike a regal pose on!
Image

He had a first scout round looking for the elusive deer:
Image

Then a prowl through the ferns trying to pick up any scents.....
Image

This is him when he first heard a noise as I disturbed some of the deer in the trees:
Image

And as he realised what they were he became more focused:
Image

Once we'd spent about an hour and a half exploring it was time to head home. I really like this picture. It almost looks like he's a bit weary and has had enough!
Image

This is how he like to end a busy day. With his head resting in any lap he can find!
Image

mod2
Posts: 11374
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:09 pm

Re: Alfie Staffie DOB 05.09.04 Orpington

Post by mod2 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:34 pm

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 by lonewolf7

Here's a picture update for Alfie. He's doing great - a little too great I have to say, as his waistline has grown a bit since we got him. It's funny how you don't notice it until you compare old pictures. So as of a few days ago he's on a diet!

Vicky's sister is still job hunting - so the silver lining for Alfie is that he's getting monster walks every day. He's thriving on it and has settled into a really nice daily routine.

The snowy conditions didn't stop his exercise as he loves the snow. It's great seeing him bound through it on his extender.

Here's a picture of him before the snow arrived practicing his sit and stay training:
Image

And here he is getting ready to catch a snowball:
Image

Alfie had a bit of a break from his Saturday training classes because of the poor weather and our holiday, but he's now back in training and progressing very well. He's moved into a class where the dogs are a little more advanced than him but he's picking things up pretty well.

In the group walk part of the class Alfie is getting better. He is still muzzled, but he's now learning to be more sociable than he was when we started. He does now engage in some friendly sniffing with other dogs and even some occasional play chasing. It seems to me that he doesn't really know how to play and that's when his insecurities can come out in aggression. Sometimes he runs up behind another dog and it's difficult to know if he's going to stay calm or be aggressive. My natural instinct is always to warn him and stop him, but our instructor is educating me as to the fine line between good and bad body language. I'm not sure if he will ever be able to have the muzzle removed for the group walk, but as I've said before that's not an aim that I ever aspired to for him. It's just nice to see him jogging around off-lead with other dogs and I sense that he does enjoy it more than he used to (that's when he's not trying to remove the muzzle with his paws)!

Anyway, here he is on his group walk being watched by our instructor:
Image

Alfie's lead walking has always been one of his stronger points and in the class he walks well in close proximity to other dogs. Here you can see him in the background walking on a nice slack lead:
Image

On parade for a group photo.....the only concern is that he appears to be eyeing up another dog and licking his lips!
Image

Alfie's obedience on the sit and stay, down and stay, and recall is excellent. I'm getting close to the point where I can hide behind the car for a few seconds while he's in the down position. The target time is three minutes hidden and I'm confident we'll be able to achieve that.

Here he is coming in for a recall:
Image

The other aspect of the training is the agility course and I noticed a marked improvement in the last two sessions. Alfie is still on a training line as a bit of added security in case he runs over to another dog on the course or vice versa. The training line makes the course a little harder to negotiate, but I'm getting to the stage where I can let go of the line whilst he charges over or through certain obstacles.

He loves the A-frame and I have to slow him down as he goes over!
Image

And after a few weeks of getting him used to it he now goes through all three of the tunnels like a rocket! Here's an action shot as he emerges from one of them:
Image

Hopefully it won't be long until I feel confident enough for him to try some of the agility course off-lead. Once we can do that I think he'll improve even quicker on the course itself.

Post Reply

Return to “Rainbow Bridge”