Hi! I realize I haven’t been updating RosieandFinn.com like…at all.
But I want to. So please pardon any weirdness that occurs. And don’t forget! you can always follow the antics of Rosie and Finn on Instagram @rosieandfinness.
As a dog mom, I am 100% convinced that my Phineas is, in the words of Mary Poppins, Practically Perfect in Every Way.
As a responsible dog owner, I know that he is more like Michael Banks than Mary Poppins: Extremely Stubborn and Suspicious. He’s likely to lash out at any dog or child who comes up to him, especially if there is someone or something to protect. When I am out walking him, he can only partly enjoy himself: part of him is always concerned that Rosie or I am in danger, and though (I believe) he enjoys his walks, I know a part of him is always on the lookout for threats.
Finn is 70 lbs and extremely strong. If he wants to pull me to attack a dog or a child, I can hold him, but it puts an astonishing amount of pressure on his neck, and my hand and arm. He also terrifies his target, and sometimes enrages them. Rosie feels his rage and whines and yelps while leaping up to nip my elbow. For a while, I started to dread walking him.
But now—cue singing angels—now that he’s used to his gentle leader, oh my gosh, everything is much nicer and less stressful and exhausting for me.
Instead of a useless yank on his throat, the gentle leader actually turns his head—and his attention—back to me. In this way, if he is lunging at a dog, I can say “leave it!” When he turns away from the dog, even slightly, I reinforce this behavior with a “yes!” Sometimes I have to do this repeatedly, but his attention always comes back to me. And I don’t even have to strangle him! Once he calms down and directs his attention forward, he gets pets and more “yes!” reinforcement.
And slowly…slowly…he is improving. He doesn’t lunge at every single dog now. Some he completely ignores. Some he notices but lets go by without comment. Some dogs he feels he needs to destroy—for some reason these are usually doodle-type dogs.
For a while, my mom, who is technically Rosie’s owner, was hesitant to get a gentle leader for Rosie too. She felt that Rosie didn’t need it. But Rosie has her own triggers. She has a much higher prey drive than Finn, and she can’t resist a scampering woodland creature. This past week, we started using a gentle leader with Rosie, and it’s been a great success. She’s a little more annoyed by it at first than Finn ever was, but as soon as she gets going, she forgets about it in favor of enjoying her walk.
I’m so happy with these gentle leaders. My walks with the pups are so much nicer! And I know it’s much safer for them, me, other dogs, children, and woodland creatures.
Haaaalp! Oh my dog.
I’m sure any of you who have had Springer Spaniels before have experienced the phenomenon where they must bark at anything new and suspicious. From a temporary Box in The Living Room to a permanent New End Table, your springer sees it, marks it as suspicious, and barks at it. Incessantly. No matter how much you coo that it’s okay, you know it’s there, it’s allowed to be there, they are not convinced!
Eventually, your springer accepts the inevitable and welcomes the new item into their domain.
This is like that, only wildly more annoying. Our sweet Rosetta has decided that humans of any kind are suspicious and unwelcome in our neighbor’s yard. They have a pool. It is summer. They had a pool last year, and the year before that. But for some reason, Rosie WILL not stop barking at the fence when there is anyone outside. To her, it is absolutely unacceptable that there be people relaxing in their pool on a hot day. Bark. Bark. Bark.
We’re not sure what to do to stop her barking except put her inside–that is, if we can get her to even remember we exist. We are probably just as annoying as she is, screaming “Rose. Rose. ROSIE. ROSETTA!!!” between each of her barks. We’re losing our voices and our patience, but Rosie is content to bark forever. Should we ask if Rosie can come over and inspect their pool? Should we just leave Rosie inside whenever the neighbors are out? I suspect we need to take some time and sit with her on a leash, rewarding her whenever she pays attention to anything that’s not the neighbors.
I like to think that this would be easy, but in reality, it might take days of doing this, and being consistent with training in the whole household is a challenge we haven’t solved.
Does your dog bark like a maniac at one particular thing? Or have an obsessive behavior? How did you handle it? Asking for a friend….
They have learned to respect, revere, and dare I say, love, their lord, His Most Royal Highness, Arthas, Bane of the Fallen King. I rather feel the same way.
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Finn and Rosie were born on January 31, 2017 in mid Michigan. It had been a couple of months since I suddenly lost Tilly, my Wire Fox Terrier, and I decided that if I was still sad after I got back from Disney World, I was going to have to get a puppy.
I’d had a Springer Spaniel, Belle, growing up and since I was living at home with a big yard, I decided I wanted a Springer again. We adopted Finn and Rosie on March 17, 2017.
I wanted to name them Rosetta and Philae, for the space craft and lander that went to the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Philae was vetoed by everyone I ran it past, but Rosetta was approved. My boyfriend suggested FN2187, called Finn. I liked Finn, but made it short for Phineas Nigellus Black.
Et voila! Finn and Rosie. Rosie and Finn. Only LATER did we realize that Finn and Rose were both Star Wars characters, lol.
Rosie and I share a middle name, Lea, since my mom yells at both of us in about equal measure. “AMANDA LEA!” “ROSETTA LEA!” When Finn is in trouble, he is usually FINNY NIGEL!
But they are both perfect lovely angels and are never in trouble, even when they are.
Even when Finn tries to kill dogs and children. (He’s just protecting me and Rosie!) Even when Rosie escapes and runs willy nilly in the front yard which is forbidden and barks incessantly up the oak tree, as though the squirrel will come down and gamely offer itself for her enjoyment.
These two offer unrelenting, unconditional love and affection, and I am so happy they are dirty, naughty, and here with me.
I’ve had this domain name for a while, I’m just starting to play around with it.
I expect most of this content to be photos of Finn and Rosie, our English Springer Spaniels.
I’m also considering a little history on the breed, anything new and cool in dog news I happen to pick up, and maybe we’ll get to introduce some fur-ends!
Do share if you want to see anything specific here. Have a question about Springers or dogs? I probably don’t know the answer but we can find out together!
I hope we’ll have lots of fun here. Share with your Springer friends, your dog friends, cat friends, human friends….everyone!