Being her own Dog

Golden Retriever at the lake FennCIMG3721
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I’m writing this while watching Anna trying to catch mosquitos at the lake. The rain and the insects are forming ripples on the water’s surface, causing her tail to wag in excitement.
You know, when I take a right turn at the gate, Anna will start to speed up. She is obviously impatient, running a few meters ahead and then back to me. She knows that soon after, there is another right turn following and then she can hardly be stopped. It’s the way to the lake. It’s her favorite place on the whole planet. Why? No, not because she is a retriever and likes to retrieve sticks or toys from water. In fact only yesterday I lost an expensive buoy because she didn’t think it was necessary to retrieve it. No, the mosquitos won! They move! Everything that moves is awesome and usually has an interesting taste. But those Mosquitos are a mystery to Anna. She can’t seem to catch them!
Occasionally she will turn in surprise because her tail splashes water around her from excitement. Wondering what that was, she looks at me: Mosquitos?
I have been wondering if I should make her retrieve. She could do it very well a few months ago. She is a retriever, isn’t that what she is supposed to do??
But watching her having such fun chasing insects, I see no point in takingthe fun away!
Watching her further I notice how alert she is. Her reactions are so quick, I can hardly follow them with my eyes.
Those ripples could be anything. Sometimes a fish throws a fin out, splashing some water, and Anna will leap out, putting her paddling feet in 5th gear trying to catch it.
She was bred to retrieve. But being her own dog – she only likes moving things with an interesting smell and taste!
May she do whatever makes her happy! I just love watching her be herself.

Happy 1st birthday to the pup of my heart!

My puppy is one year today!

A couple of days ago I bought her lots of presents, already imagining what she’ll do with them, once I give them to her. The toy section in the pet store had a wide variety and I know how much Anna loves flabby things with strings and squeaky toys or bouncy balls.

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After a careful inspection of the flabby squeaky stuff, Anna shook the chicken hard and proudly carried it around. Nibbled at the feet, the head, rolled over on her back and chew carefully on it.

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Unfortunately, soon after, she had a disgusted look on her face and coughed hard. I took the chicken inside and gave it a wash under the sink because I thought maybe the rubbery material (which I thought to be a relatively safe rubber) may have a funny taste. When holding it under the sink, the water turned red. My alarm bells went on and I put it in the washing machine before giving it back to her. She is fine with it now but I still think it will soon find its way to the trash! 

We went for a bicycle ride through the forest, along the wheat fields and to a lake where we met another retriever, a Labrador, named Bruno.  
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And back at home the toys were waiting again! The lighthouse has a string to it which Anna loves! She keeps playing with the string mostly and shaking around the heavy lighthouse – which is actually a water buoy.

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And here’s a video of her with today’s footage in slow motion!

The soft mouth of a Golden Retriever

Anna trying to eat an egg.

Recipe for an even happier Retriever………add water!!!

Das Rezept für einen noch glücklicheren Retriever……. Füge Wasser hinzu!!!

It’s summer. And summer is hot. So what’s better than cool water? These shots were all taken during weeks (June/July) and as you can see, Anna’s got THE LIFE.
Es ist Sommer. Und Sommer sind ja bekanntlich heiß. Was ist besser, als schönes kühles Wasser? Alle Fotos wurden während der letzten paar Wochen (Juni/Juli 2013) aufgenommen und wie man sehen kann: Anna hat ein Leben! 

Keeping an eye out for seagulls – Möven beobachten (Cavalaire sur Mer – France)
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Enjoying a rub from mum – Einen Knuddler von Mama genießen

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Found a creek on a long hot walk! Yayy! – Juhu, einen kühlen Bach gefunden!
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The Mediterranean Sea – Das Mittelmeer
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Chillaxing on the jetty by the boat – Relaxen auf dem Bootssteg

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Cooling off in the sea – Abkühlung im Meer
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And at home in the Fenn lake – Und Zuhause im Fenn
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There’s lots of interesting things to discover: ducks, fish, mosquitos, frogs – Am See gibt es viele Dinge zu entdecken: Enten, Fische, Mücken, Frösche…

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Once Anna discovers a duck, she sets off for a hunt. Can you see her? So far the ducks always won but Annchen won’t give up. Good training – That’s how you get your Retriever to burn calories when it’s too hot for long walks! – Wenn Anna erst mal eine Ente entdeckt hat, gibt es kein Halten mehr. Kannst du sie auf dem Bild noch erkennen? Ich lass ihr den Spaß, da die Enten wegfliegen, wenn es ihnen zu heikel wird. Gutes Training – so verbrennt ein Retriever richtig Kalorien, wenn es für lange Spaziergänge zu warm ist. 
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I heard something in the bush! – Ich hab doch da was im Busch rascheln gehört!
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Splash! – Platsch!
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Oh where’s the stick gone? – Oh, wo ist denn der Stock hin?
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The deer puddle is actually for overheated Golden Retrievers – Auch die Rehtränke macht sich gut zum Abkühlen!

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Ah the water hose! We are best play mates now! – Ah, der Gartenschlauch, wir sind jetzt beste Freunde! 
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The pool is fantastic too! When it’s too hot, I just walk right in and lie down in it. – Der Pool ist auch grandios! Wenn es zu heiß wird, leg ich mich einfach rein! Noch mehr Spaß macht es aber, wenn der Schlauch dabei noch läuft!

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Estrogen has taken over

Up until today there wasn’t a single time when my dog didn’t come when I called her.
Anna is now 8.5 months old and on Friday I noticed some blood on the tiles in the house – she is in heat for the first time. I knew it was coming soon and I often wondered if her silly behavior around other dogs was a precursor for her upcoming estrogen explosion. But actually she’s always been yodeling to Hachiko, the male Akita, rolling herself on her back in front of him while he looked away in disgust at her youthful foolishness.
So today, after a swim in the lake, I let Anna walk ahead of me, as I often do. Back at the street I realize there is a man walking his white boxer on a leash and a woman dressed in a black security west with white dogs printed on the front and back, and a walky talky in her hand. I called Anna and to my surprise she didn’t listen. She stopped but then kept walking towards the big white dog. A little uncertain but curious she kept moving towards him – until the woman got her by the collar. “Thank you for grabbing her” I said to her but I thought: ‘Great! A (security-) dog trainer is in town and Anna doesn’t listen to me! She must be thinking I’m incapable of training my dog!’
I was a bit annoyed with myself for being a bit too carefree with my estrogen driven pup! From then on I put her on leash and only let her off leash in the forest when no-one else was around. After a moment of sudden wild boar tracking fits and running in zigzags, I was relieved to see that my dog was still very well behaved, came when called and heeled like a soldier when asked.

For the next two weeks I will have to be particularly careful: Supervise her in the garden, and keep her on leash when we go for walks. By next weekend she will probably be pretty eager to have some fun and the chances of her running away are growing each day.
I’ve heard of “the pill for dogs”, an injection with hormones, but upon doing some research found out it’s actually increasing the chances of cancer by 100%, so this is not an alternative at all. I’m still unsure whether I should spay Anna or just let her stay intact. Does spaying really improve a dog’s health and lifespan?

The bleeding itself hasn’t been bad at all. There’s only the occasional little drop on the floor but she keeps herself really clean. I still couldn’t help it but had a crack up about the variations of dog nappies available.

I can’t close my legs!
    
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And if you want to be really fancy:

   
     
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May has been a very warm month so far I’ve taken Anna swimming a lot. She loves water in any form but most of all she loves flowing water in little streams or out of the water hose. The nozzle fully open and a hard water jet shooting out, Anna will catch and stop it by holding her mouth over the nozzle. I bet this is cleaning her mouth and teeth very well. She likes to stick her nose into buckets full of water and blow bubbles. She also loves to fetch sticks from the lake and dripping wet, roll herself in leaves, grass or dust.

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Sometimes we find really cool things. This time it was a roe deer’s jaw. We took it home and I gave it to Anna for a little while to smell and nibble on it.

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Ohhhh sooooo happy!
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She also likes to make herself comfortable on the sun lounger with me.
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During her early “teenage” months (3-6 months) Anna seemed to have a super long nose but now her profile developed into that of a very beautiful Golden Retriever girl.
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Beach Time!

Germany is currently experiencing the coldest March in the last 30 years. About two weeks ago I took this photo of Anna in our local forest. The sun shining low through the trees and fresh snow covering the forest ground.

Golden Retriever German Forest in Winter

We thought it’s time to go south! France and the Mediterranean Sea are well known for always having beautiful sunny weather. On the day of arrival that was the case but then rain followed!
No reason not to take the dog out! Anna loves water, so rain will not bother her. It turned out to be one of the nicest walks. I took an umbrella and wore my gumboots and we played in the sea and rain puddles. Little streams ran down the mountains and Anna discovered her love for moving water.

Click to enlarge:
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Finally we had sunny weather again and I could take some photos of Anna with her two new collars (the green spring collar and the red flower collar).
Puppy collar, winter, spring and summer collar. Model dog.
Hand made collars from: http://www.10000dogs.com
Tags from: http://Hundewiese-Shop.de

10.000dogs.com Hundehalsbänder, Halsbänder, collars, 10000 dogs hundewiese.de, 10000dogs.de Anna Golden Retriever Franziska Könnecke 10.000dogs.de Halsband France

The Retriever butt
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A sequence of Anna being surprised by a wave (click to enlarge):

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New Flower Collar with ladybug tag (click to enlarge):
golden retriever halsband 10.000dogs.de 10000dogs dog collars 10000dogs.com IMG_1448
ladybug tag Marienkäfer tag dog tag Hundeanhänger mit Gravur Hundewiese-Shop.de IMG_1486 IMG_1490IMG_1492 IMG_1509

New Spring Collar (green with dragonflies and daisies) with clover leaf tag:
10000dogs.de Halsband Hunde Frühling Libelle Gänseblümchen Margariten Libellen anna golden retriever IMG_1502 Happy Golden Retriever happy dog at the beach tongue out

Happy dog playing:
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Being silly:
easter rabbit Osterhase Golden retriever anna silly golden retriever dog digging cote d'azur france provence golden retriever dog anna IMG_1575

Retrieving:
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Trying to get dry!!! 
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Just to get wet again (can’t breathe under water!)
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Dry fur, dry! And putting on a lovely fishy perfume. Mmmm love that smell!
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Video – Silly Anna (murdering a Rabbit towards the End)

I love you

I haven’t been active on the blog for almost two months but that doesn’t mean life here has been boring. No, to the contrary, Anna and I have spent every day together. Playing, cuddling, walking, skiing, discovering, and lately even swimming!
With every day the bond grows stronger and this post is a declaration of my love for Anna. She is now 6.5 months old and has become a tall and more confident young lady.

6 weeks                     9 weeks                                12 weeks                       28 weeks

Golden Retriever 6 weeks  IMG_8204 - Version 2 Golden Retriever Puppy Anna  Anna Retrieverlife

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End of January we went on a holiday to Austria and thoroughly enjoyed the weather there.
Digging in the deep snow became Anna’s full time job and she learnt to be alone in a foreign hotel room for an hour or two per day, which she accepted well from the start. She didn’t cry when we left but the first time I came back to the hotel room and opened the door, she didn’t recognize me and did a backflip, running away from me in panic, her claws screeching on the parquet floor and with her tail tucked under her belly. I couldn’t help but laugh at her hilarious maneuvers. She soon realized it was only me and came to greet me nervously!

Austria

Austria golden retriever mountains Golden Retriever lying on back
Austria golden retriever mountains

Now Spring is slowly approaching Germany and we had a couple of warm days that melted the snow.
Recently Anna learned a new skill. I knew she regularly worked on my laptop during the last couple of weeks but then she really surprised me! She learnt English!

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Sunny greetings from Anna, the Golden Teenager.

Video of Anna in France

Anna’s first time at the beach, her first real swim, retrieves from water and on land and lots of wild playing in the sand!

Winter walks in Magdeburg, Germany

Winter has come back to East Germany and I decided to take Anna for a walk along the Elbe river in the city of Magdeburg. Just past the Herrenkrug Hotel we follow the Elbe river. The water level has risen far enough to flood parts of the park. You can see a park bench and a bin in the river here:

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Every now and then I take a second for a little training session. Anna loves those “games” that always end with a treat!
Here I’m trying to teach her to crawl, hardly recognizable in the photo, but she does it quite well already.

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Anna taking the “The Road Less Travelled” in the forest of Möser:

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On another walk through Magdeburg’s Stadtpark (city park), crossing a bridge at sunset.

Sunset Magdeburg Stadtpark city park golden retriever

In the winter months the sun is hardly rising from the horizon, it almost feels like morning all day. The temperature has sunk to -10 degrees Celsius and the lakes are frozen. Anna ran onto the ice during our walk and of course broke in. Luckily she was close enough to the shore, she got herself out without even getting her feet wet. The noise of the cracking ice almost gave me a heart attack.

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The Pavilion:

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Being a Retriever, Anna picked up a stick and proudly carried it while walking around me in circles. I started playing tug with her and the stick until I finally told her to let go, so I could throw it for her. Only then I realized, I wasn’t holding a stick in my hand! I was holding a frozen duck leg and foot, still with some feathers attached! “Ewww”, I screamed, looking at the orangy colored leg in my hand. She just loves birds! The birds flying in the sky, the ducks in the lake or the birds shuffling through the ground searching for food and flying from branch to branch. Her eyes always follow them, sometimes her instinct will make her chase them.

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Winter walks in Magdeburg Germany Stadtpark

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