Category Archives: Behaviour

Red Sky

Red Skies 1

It is rare for me to see a red sky, with little hint of blue or purple, and this is such a deep red, it is really dramatic.

Red Skies 2

While I was taking my photos at dusk, with the sun rapidly setting, I was “serenaded” – if you can apply that term here – by a couple of Egyptian Geese, standing atop a neighbour’s roof and screeching loudly to another couple some distance away.

It is not a pretty sound!


You can read more about the noisy birds here: Sittin’ on a Roof and Cacophony.


I Tawt I Taw A PuddyTat!

Tweety 1

Here’s a twist on the old Tweety Pie song “I tawt I taw a puddy tat!” about Sylvester the cat creeping up on the little bird.

Little Monkey and I were sitting outside in the shade of the trees early one evening, minding our own business, when I noticed movement.

A cheeky Olive Thrush flew down to the lawn and looked about. (I’ve marked his progress with a white arrow to save you having to squint to find him!)

Tweety 2

What did Little Monkey think about this?

I would say by the raspberry she’s blowing; clearly not impressed!

The Thrush, however, was completely unconcerned by our presence. He could plainly see us, but that didn’t faze him one bit.

He started hopping closer and closer to us!

Tweety 3

Little Monkey remained completely unaware of his presence;

Tweety 4

She just wondered why I was taking so many photos of her. She still hadn’t a clue that ‘Tweety” was creeping up on her;

Tweety 5

Closer and closer, till he got to where he wanted to go!

Talk about cheeky!


post script: For more about Sylvester the cat and Tweety Pie, you can click on these links:

I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat Cartoon

Puddy Tat song details

3D Cartoon “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat” 2011


I must say, I prefer cartoons in the original 2D; certainly for the old ones like Sylvester and Tweety Pie.



Her Master’s Voice?

Her Master’s Voice 1

I wonder if it is Her Master’s Voice that has Little Monkey’s undivided attention:

Her Master’s Voice 2

Or the massive ostrich bone he’s holding?


post script: You can read more about His Master’s Voice, the famous trademark in the music industry.


Sunday Musings #91

Forgetfulness is the brain’s way of safeguarding against obesity due to a sedentary lifestyle as you age.

– Scifi


How many times do you have to go back into a room to fetch the item you first went for, because you came away with something else?

It’s about 20 metres from my lounge to the bedroom; 40 metres round trip. I walk this repeatedly to fetch variously; my book; coffee mug; cell phone; laptop; crossword puzzles etc; each time returning with a different item than the one I originally wanted. When you factor in failed trips to the kitchen, other rooms and garden, I certainly get my exercise!

Anyone else out there clocking up the miles this way?

Please tell me I’m not alone!



The Stay 1 – LM

The Long Distance Stay

Little Monkey waits while I walk away from her, with my friend and her two dogs. Even ‘splitting the pack’ did not break her stay.

I like this photo with the background of blinding white-light that emphasises just how bright it is here!

The Stay 2 – LM

This photo gives a better indication of how far away I was. Normally we do a longer distance, but I wanted to take a photo; and the very act of moving my arms to do so would make her want to move. I “call” her simply by raising my arm up and down; no words. This works very well over very long distances; especially on a windy day when your voice is carried away; or when you have laryngitis; or suddenly can’t whistle, like Pinocchio!

This is what we do every single time before I let LM run around free. She stays till I ‘call’ her, trots straight up to me, sits down and waits till I release her (stroke on the head, double pat to the side, “OK.”). Then I know she is listening to me and will come back to me any time during the walk, even if she is out of sight and I have to whistle for her.

This is what she did before she had her Walk in the Wild (with the ‘wolf’) in a recent post.

We have come a very long way from when I first got LM and she did not even look at me at all! I have to admit, LM does have some skills now, even if she is a complete Noo Noo!


Little Monkey Gets Mugged! – A Ten Year Anniversary Post

You Little Monkey

You Little Monkey

Little Monkey gets mugged!

Three Times!

It’s not been a good week for Little Monkey!

If you walk your dog anywhere, you are bound to encounter a few unwelcome interactions now and then. I expect some at dog class, because most of the dogs (and/or owners; OK, mostly owners!) have problems; that’s why they are there in the first place!

When I started going to dog socialisation classes with an eighteen month old Little Monkey the day I got her ten years ago, she was so anxious and unsocialised that all the other dogs attacked her, because she was different and unbalanced. We stayed a good five metres away from the class in our own little bubble for years.

Now, she has learnt enough to fly under the radar. She is still anxious, but she hides it well and the other dogs all leave her alone. To someone who had not seen her ten years ago, they would wonder what I was talking about; she looks fine to them.

However, any new dog suddenly seen in close proximity when out on a walk, still provokes a reaction of instant terror in her. She needs time and lots of space to get to know the other dogs and realise they mean no harm.

Or do they?


Face Off!

This brings me to the first incident. Not a big deal really, just so surprising, because, as I said, LM fits in well in class these days and she hasn’t been attacked for years.

At dog class the other week, there was a young woman with a black Belgian Shepherd. She had it on the lead when everyone else’s dogs were free. I always walk right round the field, then round and through the class when I arrive with LM, so she is assimilated and we have both checked out all the dogs. We instantly pick up on the ones to watch; the anxious, dominant or boisterous ones.

So I’d said Hi to the woman and asked if I could stroke her dog. I said a quick hello to the dog and moved on. LM went back to the woman and sat nicely in front of her; or rather in front of the bag of treats she had in a waist pouch!

Next second the black shepherd went straight for LM’s face! Snapping and snarling and trying to rip her face off!

LM leapt away, eyes like saucers and a look of total surprise on her face! She hadn’t been attacked like that for so so long!

I just told LM to lie down, chatted to the woman again and our own dog whisperer came up to tell her what she needed to do and the signals her dog had been giving (staring at LM) that she needed to pick up on.

So, All Good. No blood. And a lesson learnt by both dogs.


In For the Kill!

The second incident was by far the most serious of the three and could easily have led to a full blown fight with blood and wounds, had LM and I not known how to react.

We’d had a long walk already, pretty much as in The Dog Walk. We approached the last wooded area in the common, with LM off lead behind me. I noticed two large dogs running between the trees, owned by a young man with a toddler. I figured (wrongly as it turned out) that his dogs must be OK, as he let them roam free and had a small child with him.

However, I knew that LM would run towards the movement, so I put her on the lead and we started down the lovely wooded path, walking on pine needles in the dappled shade.

The two dogs spotted us from a good thirty metres away and came tearing straight for us full speed. They clearly meant business. I dropped LM’s lead and moved in front of her to try to stem the charge. With a strong, dominant energy, I pointed at them and bellowed, “Back Off!”

I did succeed in slowing the dogs slightly, but they were intent on getting to my dog and dodged past me, rushing straight into LM. They were both larger than her and the more aggressive of the two body slammed her, pressing his head on her shoulders as he loomed over her and growled.

For once in her life, LM did exactly the right thing. She cowered. She made herself very small and still; crouching down with her tail between the legs, head low and ears back in extreme submission.

The aggressive dogs were so wound up they only wanted one little wrong move and they’d have attacked her.

I moved in and pushing the most aggressive dog by the neck, guided his head away from LM. Having got between the dogs, with LM now protected behind me and these two large terrors in front of me, I used my energy again and said firmly, “Chill!”

So, between us, LM and I had stopped a full on attack, but now the two aggressors didn’t know what to do. They still wanted to attack her, but there was no way I was letting them near LM and she wasn’t going to fight them.

Finally, the owner called his dogs and they ran back to him. While the man was clipping one dog on its lead, the other came rushing back at us. I was already moving away with LM, but turned and faced him down again. As this dog was not the worst dog, he did stop. The owner called again and the dog ran back to him.

LM and I carried on down the path, but a moment later LM suddenly pooped. She had been very, very scared. (Yes, I know dogs poop on walks, but we all know our dog’s patterns very well and this was definitely a result of the encounter.)

As I picked up the poop I became really angry. Those dogs were extremely dog aggressive. If LM or I had not known how to react, there could have been a really bad fight. Luckily, LM did not squeal or run away, which would have goaded the dogs into chasing and attacking her.

But it made me think: what if it had been my neighbour, a first time dog owner who is still learning, and his little Maltese, which would have done both those things (squealed and run away)? What if it had been an elderly person, who could have been knocked over and certainly very shaken up?

That’s why I was so angry. I hadn’t been scared, because I had been in control of the situation (just), but I was livid that this man was letting his aggressive dogs run out of control and attack others. And the worst thing about all this?

No apology from the man.

I repeat; no apology from the man whatsoever. Not one word from him.


Assault Team!

The third incident wasn’t so aggressive, but still very dominant and ‘in your face’ anti-social behaviour. LM and I were approaching the soccer field, when I saw an oldish woman sitting on a fallen tree trunk up on the field, with three large dogs running around her off lead. LM and I stopped for a moment in the shade of the trees, while we assessed the dogs’ behaviour. The woman cheerfully waved to me and I thought maybe we knew each other. (It was too far for me to see her clearly.) So, LM and I carried on our walk, which was off to one side, but also slightly towards the dogs.

Suddenly, all three dogs came running up to us. A pack of three very large dogs running straight at you is an Assault Team indeed. This is the anti-social behaviour; to approach another dog too quickly, without giving it a chance to read body language.

I dropped LM’s lead and stepped forward in front of her to stem the onrush of this pack. I did slow them down a little, but LM had made up her own mind about them and sprang forward past me a few steps, stopped and barked at them twice. She could see they were behaving badly and she was telling them to stop it!

Then all three dogs were all over LM sniffing her and being pushy. Obviously, they were just very dominant and not actually aggressive, but none-the-less, they were intimidating. I made sure to be right in there, shoving the bossy ones out of the way. Often just a tap to the shoulder or rump will distract the dog and calm the situation.

Typically, the one dog closest to me that I did manage to tap lightly on the rump with my cap, whirled round with wide eyes. It was anxious and only following the rest of the pack!

Still, I hung around and touched all the dogs, with heavy pats on the rump and shoulder of the most dominant, while saying “Hi there, big boy” for the benefit of the feeble owner. I walked onto the field with all the dogs, which were behaving better now, and started talking to the woman (who was, after all, a complete stranger!) When owners chat like this it shows the dogs that everyone is friendly here and we can all get along just fine. They’ll remember this the next time they meet.

However, the woman seemed all flustered and just wanted to go. I really have to wonder why on earth a physically weak woman with such a low energy was there on the field with three very large dogs, all off lead, when clearly she was incapable of controlling them at all. (Note, if you are physically weak, you can still control your dog by being mentally strong.)

I patted all the dogs and LM again, then we continued on our walk, patting ourselves on the back for dealing with the situation!


Why am I going on about energies? Dogs read your body language and energy. They are very, very good at this. They know if you are scared, weak or injured and will take full advantage of it. It’s how they hunt after all. If you stay calm, strong and fearless you have a much better chance of controlling the situation. Basically, you learn how to communicate in Dog. I have been learning this, alongside LM, for the past ten years. 


This post is a sort of celebration for Little Monkey, who has been attending dog socialisation classes every week for ten years. We took dog biscuits to our class the other day and gave them to all the dogs there, from dachshunds and tiny puppies, (we got there just at the end of puppy class), to the large dogs; German Shepherds, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, Giant Schnauzers and of course, many mutts like LM. I could say that, judging from LM’s excellent reactions detailed here, she has finally graduated dog school!

But we’re still going to dog class!


Four and Twenty Blackbirds . . .

Black Bird 1

Black Bird 1

This chap has his beady little eye on the white berries. If you look closely, you’ll see dark shapes hiding in the bush above him. These are more birds.

Black Bird 2

Black Bird 2

Four and Twenty Black Birds? Baked in a pie?

Well, that’s how the nursery rhyme goes: “Sing a song of sixpence”.

But I don’t think there were twenty four here!

Also, although these are black birds, they aren’t Blackbirds, but Red-Winged Starlings; another of our unique Cape birds.

Black Bird 3

Black Bird 3 ccc

A small flock of them descended on my bush to eat the berries. They are quite large birds, but mostly you had no idea they were there, as they delved right into the bush. Only the raucous squawking and shaking of the branches gave their presence away!

Black Bird 5

Black Bird 5

This one looks like a female or perhaps a juvenile bird. It is slightly to right of centre in the photo below.

Black Bird 4

Black Bird 4

There are more than two birds in this last photo.

How many birds can you spot?


post script: You can see more of these birds in my post The Birds!