Is your dog enjoying that pat?

We all think (know) that our dogs love us and want to be patted . . . all the time. Actually, sometimes they don’t want to be patted, especially on the head. Ever seen your dog flinch when you, or someone else, goes to pat their head?

See Eileen’s really interesting breakdown of dog behaviour. It is subtle but once you can read the signs you might be surprised.


For more information visit Eileenanddogs.





Meet The Locals: George

The happy lad below peering enthusiastically over the fence is Gorgeous George. He is a two and a half year old Labradoodle. George’s main characteristic is his enthusiasm. As he is a very tall lad this can be a little disconcerting when he first hurtles over to greet you at breakneck speed.


George’s owners, Nat and Mariella, were considering getting a rescue dog – a great idea, go here if you want to consider one too – but due to allergies decided on George the Labradoodle.

George is a big loveable dog who likes nothing better than a cuddle from his owners. Or anyone, really. Contrary to what most of us think, dogs don’t generally enjoy a hug, George is definitely the exception. Many of the locals at Citizens Park have been treated to a George cuddle!

As you can tell from the name, the Labradoodle is a cross between the Labrador Retriever and Poodle. This produces a highly intelligent dog with a love of exercise, conversely they score low on the aggression factor and aren’t very suitable as guard dogs. In fact, Mariella tells me that George is more likely to invite an intruder in than be a threat of any kind.

Despite this George does have a very authentic sounding play-growl if you indulge in a game of tug of war with him. His other favourite game, when not playing tug of war, is frisbee. He had a lovely game of frisbee with another local, Jet, just this week. Most of the other dogs at the park stayed away as these two looked like they were having a serious to-do, but it was all just fun n’ games. And finally, as George doesn’t like to sleep alone he always collects his favourite toy cow to sleep with before bed.

George & Cow

Helen 🙂


Meet The Locals: Earnest

It is impossible to resist Earnest the Chinese Crested due to his natural good looks and irrepressible character. This cheeky man, below left, knows his charms and is luring Mindy over.

On hearing about Earnest’s history, kept for the first nine months of his life in a cage, his infectious grin is even more endearing. Earnest’s fortunes changed when the RSPCA rescued him and he was subsequently adopted.


At two years old he is definitely coming out of his shell. To see him now at Citizens Park you would never guess he was once very hesitant with other dogs and people. Since being adopted he has quickly acclimatised to the entire world.

As you can see, Earnest is enjoying life on the outside. He especially enjoys a bit of a massage and cuddle. When at the park, Phil the sausage dog is one of his favourite companions. Earnest’s progress is all the more remarkable when you consider that he missed all the early socialisation pups are usually exposed to with other dogs and even humans.

The Chinese Crested is an exotic looking dog that doesn’t actually originate in China. They hail from Mexican or African hairless dogs and were then adopted by Chinese onboard ships as they are excellent ratters. They were also thought to have magical properties, their “heating” ability is certainly magical!

There are two types of Crested, the hairless and the powder puff, the latter  has a full coat, Earnest, is the hairless type.

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Here Earnest is enjoying a massage.

According to DogTime, Chinese Crested dogs are happy to stay inside with their owner for hours even though they do need exercise every day. They are an agile, quick dog with great fence scaling abilities. They are also an excellent companion dog and bond intensely with their owners. They tend not to be very friendly with strangers – Earnest must be the exception to this. While they don’t need lots of exercise plenty of mental stimulation is a must.

Should you want to be the instigator of another happy ending story like Earnest’s has 100s of dogs and cats looking for homes.

Helen 🙂

Meet The Locals: Harvey Wallace

Who is Arnie’s favourite wrestling mate? That’s right, Harvey the Dachshund, see below. But bear in mind it is terribly hard to get a photo of him as he is always on the move, hence the less than glamorous shot with a little bit of doggy saliva on this back.

(But better to be looked over than overlooked, hey Harvey?!)

Harvey: Living the Dream

Five month old Harvey spends a lot of time at the park “learning to play” as Tim and Lindsay put it. He is getting rather good at it- just ask Arnie.

He also gets to go to the office where he keeps the admin team productive and on-task. According to his owners he is doing his bit to contribute to the lowering of blood pressure and making the office a congenial, happy place.

“What’s good about Harvey?”  I asked Tim and Lindsay. Turns out that unlike some of the breed who can be nervous and anxious, Harvey is playful and confident, and not a barker. (That must be why he is loved at the office.)

One last picture of Harvey & Arnie playing.

Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt badgers and other ferocious animals. Dachs in German means badger and hund means hound. Unlike how I have been pronouncing it, these dogs are daks hounds not dash hounds. According to the website Dachshunds have a reputation of being entertaining and fearless but “what they want most is to cuddle with their people.”

Aw, Harvey!

Helen 🙂

Meet The Locals: Arnie

This concerning photo appears to be of a little black and white dog throttling the life out of a Dachshund while his owner looks on. But do not fear- no blood was spilt. In actual fact, these two are great mates. The dachsy is Harvey Wallace – we will meet him later – his adversary/playmate is Arnie the Boston Terrier.

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(Boston Terriers and Dachshunds must have something in common as Arnie’s owner, Annie, previously owned a Dachshund.)

But back to Arnie, named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, this dashing pupster is energetic and full of life. Slightly younger than his namesake at 11 months, lucky Arnie can handle two walks a day including plenty of park visits where he indulges in some freestyle wrestling.

Nope, nothing vicious about this cutie!

When at the park Arnie lives up to his breed’s reputation as Boston Terriers were originally bred to be vicious pit fighting dogs. (Nah, I am kidding.) He does nothing of the sort!  Arnie does indulge in some play time and there is nothing vicious about him at all. In fact, by the 19th century the Boston Terrier had earned a new reputation and nickname The American Gentleman due to its friendly nature and the tuxedo-like bib on its chest- that describes Arnie perfectly. 

Boston Terriers are also very apartment-friendly and super intelligent. As one would expect from its name, the Boston Terrier originated in Boston, Massachussetts in the late 1800s.

Helen 🙂

Meet The Locals: Ollie

This fluffy, walking teddy bear is Ollie, a 22 month Labradoodle. Most mornings at Citizens Park you will find Ollie and his owner, Don, socializing with the regulars.

Ollie, heading this way for a pat, no doubt.

Ollie is Don’s first Labradoodle, his previous dogs being beagles. He says that Ollie is just a nice dog living a happy life. On meeting Ollie it is clear that he certainly is a happy-go-lucky chap. He will wander up for a pat and generally just hang with the gang. There are no crazy antics with Ollie, no jumping, no teasing other dogs, no slobber.

According to Labradoodles are sociable, friendly, nonaggressive and intuitive, that certainly describes Ollie to a tee. Vetstreet also scores Labradoodles high on every characteristic you could want in a dog, unless you particularly want a guard dog.

Ollie, momentarily distracted by the good smelling ground, as is Harvey. (There is something delicious in the soil that makes most of the dogs want to sample it!)

When you consider the history of the Labradoodle it becomes obvious why they weren’t designed to be guard dogs. In 1989, Wally Conron, the head breeder for the Guide Dog Association crossed Labrador Retrievers with Poodles in an attempt to create a hypoallergenic guide dog. It should be noted, however, that allergies are caused by dog dander (dead skin cells) so no dog is 100% hypoallergenic.

With fur that doesn’t really shed, no doggy smell, and a lovely sociable personality it is no wonder  the Labradoodle has grown in  popularity as a pet since then.

Helen 🙂

Stay tuned for Arnie, Harvey, Wally, Bluey, Max, another Ollie and more!

Meet The Locals: Shirvo

Quick! What looks like a poodle, has hypoallergenic fur like a poodle, but isn’t a poodle?

(Some people will argue that hypoallergenic fur doesn’t exist, in which case, let’s say low -shedding fur.)

Shirvo the Portuguese Water Dog, of course! Named after Matt Shirvington because of his ability to run 100m very fast. (No doubt.)

Shirvo in action.

As you can see, Shirvo has an impressive physique and bears a striking resemblance to the 100m Gold medal winner.

This young pup will be 2 in September so is technically still a teenager, but without any of that teen angst or sulking that often accompany these difficult years.

In fact, Shirvo’s owner says he is more like a  big cat when he is home as he is loyal and affectionate, coming up for pats and generally twining himself around people’s legs.

(OK, maybe not that last part.)

Shirvo recently  enjoyed a clip at the groomers. On his return to Citizens Park everyone was surprised to see he was actually smaller than the poodle-type coat he sported had led us to believe. Still, he isn’t a small lap dog.


Portuguese Water Dogs were possibly made famous when Barack Obama adopted two (Bo and Sunny) for his family when he was living in the White House.

Shirvo is equally as famous at his local park. He is happy, social and playful; and living up to his name, if there is water around he will find it.

The Portuguese Water Dog was originally bred to work with fisherman on their boats. They would herd and retrieve fish (several sites told me this!) as well as retrieve other things such as nets, carrying messages from boat to boat and guarding boats in foreign ports.

With time these dogs were gradually replaced with technology and the breed become less common until the 1930s when Vasco Bensaude started a breeding program to bump up the numbers.

Helen 🙂