My Problem Dog & My New Kitchen Garden….

Unfortunately things aren’t going too well with our lovely rescue dog, Judy.

For those that don’t know, we brought her home from the RSPCA in October and it was evident after a few weeks that she was a very anxious dog.  By December she was so frightened of other dogs sniffing around her that she actually bit a dog….I was mortified at the time.

We then contacted a behaviourist who has been working with me since December and after six weeks of training Judy, she was ‘tolerating’ other dogs a lot better…..until a couple of weeks ago two separate dogs within two days would not leave Judy alone and eventually she reacted badly to them (thank goodness she was wearing a muzzle).  On both occaisions their owners ‘ambled’ slowly across to me oblivious that their dogs were causing Judy a problem (even though I had shouted across to them to ask them to call their dogs away).

Judy on one of the rare occaisions she stands still in the garden

Judy on one of the rare occaisions she stands still in the garden

So we are now back to square one and Judy cannot tolerate any dogs again.  So I have been walking her at quiet times around the streets instead of the park to bring her stress levels down, however this has had a knock on effect….poor Judy has been getting more and more stressed with the buses, lorries, motorbikes, people with hats on, or people with walking sticks, prams, etc.

On Monday she even got upset at some new road works on a quiet side street and just would not walk past them and I nearly had to ring Mr Thrift to come out of work to pick us up in the car and take us home!

At home she is now continually pacing around our kitchen table during the day and running up and down the garden over and over again, without stopping.  In fact the only time she settles is when I hold her next to me, or in the evening when our curtains are tightly closed and everywhere is quiet.

So I emailed our behaviourist and she suggested we gave medication a try from the vets….so this is what we have done.

I feel that I have tried so hard to train her without success and I have used plug in diffusers, collars and things to calm her in her food and nothing is now working.  It really isn’t fair on her to live this way, so I feel this is now the only option.  I am hoping that the tablets are just for the short term and the vet hopes this too, but the vet also said that some dogs do need to take them long term….let’s hope not.

The medication can take upto two months to fully work, so I will let you know if things improve.




In between my problems with Judy this week, I have been working hard to finish freezing the crops I brought home from my allotment before I gave the plots up.

I have now frozen my celeriac, brussells and some of my parsnips:

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I do still have quite a few parsnips left to freeze though, but I will do them in the next few days:



My New Kitchen Garden

In my new kitchen garden I have been making a new path to follow my washing line.  I know some of you may think this is strange, but I do like to hang my washing out even in winter, as it saves money when I don’t use the tumble dryer and I think things seem so much fresher when they have dried in the wind.

I started by using a couple of the weed suppressant paths that I made for my allotment last year (you can read how I made them here).  I then used bundles of ‘hazel’ tied together with wire, to line the path.  This is hazel that I grew at my allotment and brought it home when I knew I was giving the allotment plots up.


I then finished it with wood chip that I had also salvaged from my allotment, though I am yet to finish the end of the path nearest the fence, as I am not sure if I want to go all the way down to it yet as I haven’t finished planning the garden.

  I am pleased with how it looks so far:



I have also been replanting the fruit bushes and autumn raspberries that I brought back from the allotment.  When I first brought them home I just ‘heeled’ them in as I hadn’t prepared the ground at that stage:


I have now planted the fruit bushes and the raspberries, making sure I prepared the ground first by removing any weeds and adding a lot of compost to it.

I have lined our wire fence with the raspberries and our other ‘chicken wire’ fence with the two blackcurrant bushes, a white currant bush and a gooseberry plant.  These were fruit bushes that I only bought from a nursery in September, so I didn’t feel guilty about bringing them home from my allotment and I also have left plenty of autumn raspberries at my plot for whoever takes over.

I have also laid a couple more weed suppressant paths so I can get to pick the fruit (eventually) without treading on the soil:

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So my kitchen garden is beginning to take shape… looks a lot different from the ‘before’ photo on the left:

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I have also decided to put the big metal pots that I also brought back from the allotment, outside our back door.  I will fill them when I get around to it, though for the moment I have now stuffed them with some of the nets I also brought back.  I’m not sure what I will be planting in them yet….I must finish planning my new garden!

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Last weekend I managed to finally buy some seed potatoes.  It was very, very strange just buying a few instead of the big bag I usually buy each January for my allotment.

I chose a few ‘marfona’ seed potatoes (a 2nd early which I particularly like) and some ‘desiree’ potatoes (which are a reliable red skinned main crop variety).

They are all chitting nicely in our bedroom as this is the coolest room in the house, next to my remaining butternut squashes……how romantic we are!


Yesterday I finally got around to sowing my leeks and broad beans.  I should really have done this last month, but I’m sure they will catch up.  The leeks are a variety called ‘Lyon 2’, which I haven’t tried before (I got the seeds cheap in the autumn) and the broad beans are an overwintering variety called ‘Aquadulce’ that should really be sown by the end of January.

I have sown plenty of seeds so I can take a few plants to my mother-in-law this year, for her garden.

The seed trays are sitting nicely in my cold greenhouse now:

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To finish off with, it was my eldest daughters seventeenth birthday yesterday (where does time go to).  She asked for a ‘chocolate indulgient cake’ i.e. a cake with her favourite chocolate sweets on.

I baked a three layer cake using my usual ‘throw it all in‘ recipe and covered it with a chocolate buttercream frosting and used kit kat sticks, maltesers and chocolate orange to decorate it.  I think a little imagination goes a long way….and she seemed to really like it:

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Anyway, that’s enough for this week.  Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back as normal next Friday.

Have a lovely weekend!


30 thoughts on “My Problem Dog & My New Kitchen Garden….

  1. I am sorry to hear that you are having such problems with Judy. We have a black lab who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks so I do know how difficult this is to deal with on a day to day basis, and how heartbreaking to see an animal you love so distressed. We consulted a behaviourist too, who said she would be surprised if it wasn’t thyroid related. We had already had a full blood count done and he was right at the bottom of the range but within “normal”. She persuaded our vet to try him on thyroxine medication, and he is better although still a long way from normal. The vet was going to prescribe Selgian for him some months ago, but I wanted to give the thyroid meds more chance to work. I think it may be time to think again though, and will be very interested to see if Selgian helps Judy.

    Your garden is going to be wonderful and I am so impressed with the amount of hard work you can manage to do in one week with freezing cold weather!

    • Hi Sara, it’s so lovely to hear from you and I am sorry you are having problems too with your dog. It’s very lonely having a dog with anxiety isn’t it as every dog you see is bouncy and outgoing without a care in the world. I must say I had never heard of dogs having anxiety problems before I had Judy and I have always had dogs around me. I will keep blogging about Judy so you will see how/if the Selgian works. I really didn’t want her to have medication and I sometimes I feel like I have failed her, but when I look at it with my sensible head I know that the problems she is having are no my fault at all and it’s probably why her previous owner gave her up……which is why I really don’t want to let her down.

  2. Poor Judy, I do hope her medications have a beneficial effect. It must be so distressing for both her and you. You’ve done plenty of work on your garden – you’re a dynamo!
    Happy Birthday to your daughter and she couldn’t possibly eat all that chocolate, could she?

  3. Continued, tapped the wrong key lol… Was going to say I hope all goes well for her with the new medication.
    Your kitchen garden is coming on a treat!! And that cake is making my mouth water lol : -)
    Hope you have a good week. Marise

  4. Oh that is so dIssapointing that a couple of slack owners set back all your hard work! My heart goes out to you girly! I hope the medication helps.
    Your garden! Ahhh! I delight in it! We have dirt tracks running around ours at the moment as it’s been so dry and dusty, but your is going to be delightful!
    I hope my celeriac survives. It’s been dry, as I mentioned, and I can’t give it the good soaking it wants, so it’s been pouting. I am all a gog over yours! They look like the ones in the shop!

    • Lol they were a lot muddier than the ones you buy in the shops. My freezer is bursting now and I still have some more parsnips to freeze!…..I suppose though that this may be the last time I have so much frozen produce now I don’t have all my allotments

  5. Sorry to hear you are having problems with Judy and do hope that the tablets work. Your kitchen garden is looking really good, lovely to see it from the beginning and looking forward to see it as the months go by. What a wonderful cake you made, my youngest was 23 on thursday, i know what you mean about “where has the time all gone”, have a good week. Sue

    • Thanks Sue… really doesn’t seem like yesterday that my two girls were born. The funny thing is, my girls see me as ‘old’ now and I don’t feel any different than I did when they were is strange sometimes isn’t it

  6. So sorry that things are tough with your little doggie at the moment. I do hope that the medication works and that she doesn’t need it for very long. Love the look of that cake, delicious. I do hope you have a good weekend. CJ xx

  7. I do hope things improve for Judy. We have two rescue terriers, both of which had all sorts of problems when we first had them, but both of which are now wonderful companions – to us and to each other. It took time and patience and the first one did not settle until eight months later when we got her a male friend. I sincerely hope you can find a way forward with Judy so that she becomes calm and settled. x

    • Thank you for telling me that as we have only had Judy for 4 months so it’s good for me to remember it’s such early days with her. When she is calm she is just such a lovely dog, but unfortunately these calm moments only really happen when she is sitting with me or in the evening when the curtains are closed (which I suppose is a blessing for us)

      • Don’t despair – dogs are pack animals and clearly she regards you as her pack. Currently, she is only happy when she knows her pack is safe – i.e. all is quiet and she can’t detect any threats.. You probably don’t want to hear this, but our behaviourist’s recommendation is that dogs need other dogs… I know she would suggest you find Judy a calm male friend! To be fair it worked a treat for Sam (after eight difficult months on her own) although we were resistant at first.

      • Lol, it’s certainly not something we would think about doing at the moment, especially after the reaction we get every time next doors dog is in the garden and also after she bit the poor dog in December when it just stood near her with a ball in it’s mouth…maybe in the future?

  8. Your garden looks great, you can really see how it’s going to be now. I am so sad for your little dog. I know dogs can be really sensitive to the energy of the people around them at home in their “pack”. I hope as you settle into the changes in your life, that the dog will enjoy the new calmness and respond to that. I know terriers can have a lot of energy, I am not sure what you could do so she is properly tired out after a walk? My dog is more rug than dog so I don’t have any experience of dogs with energy! I know for my boy, he’s a pleasure to be around as long as you wear him out once a day.

    • I think she wears herself out being so anxious about everything and running backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards so many times in our garden. Yesterday I was in my garden for 2 to 3 hours and she didn’t stop to even sniff! I took her in half way through and held her for a while just to calm her down as she had got in such a state

  9. It’s still early days yet with your doggie, you’re giving her a loving home which is great.
    Your veggie patch looks brill, there’s actually a lot of ground there which I’m sure you’ll maximise fully. I was also impressed with your celeriac, mine didn’t amount to much, I need to water them more.

  10. i hope the medication will works well for judy. your new kitchen garden looks great.
    have you rhubarb in your new garden,too?
    the birthday cake(buttercreme torte) for your daughter looks soooooooooooooooooooo good!!!!
    birthday wishes to your daughter!
    have a nice week,
    love and hugs,

  11. I’m sorry to hear you and Judy are having such a hard time. My rescue dog Lara suffers from quite severe anxiety when out on our walks and her biggest problem, like Judy, is other dogs. This can sometimes make our walks incredibly stressful and exhausting for the both of us, so I recently decided to contact a behaviourist and we are slowly making progress although it can vary, we have good days, bad days and everything in-between.

    When I first got Lara I felt that she had to have her walk every single day, regardless of the fact that neither of us really enjoyed it and she clearly found it stressful. Looking back I really wish we hadn’t done half the walks we did, despite living in a village there was so much for her to take in; dogs, kids, cars, bikes, rubbish blowing across the street…it was just too much, too soon. So I finally decided that we would have a couple of days off from our walks each week, usually the weekends when lots of people would be out and about and instead we’d stay at home, usually in the garden and we’d play some games, do some simple tricks or she’d just lay there enjoying one of her treats. It took the pressure off both of us. I just couldn’t see the point of us going on, what I knew would be, a stressful walk.

    Very gradually Lara’s confidence has grown (it has taken well over a year and a half) and we now go out every day but I still allow us a “day off” if we need it, especially if its a bank holiday or the sun’s shining and you just know all of those darn fair weather walkers will be out. So we’ll stay at home and just have a nice day to ourselves.

    Judy sounds very similar to Lara so I wonder if this approach may work for her? 45 minutes of teaching Judy tricks and playing some scent games in the garden will really help to build her confidence and the mental stimulation will do her wonders, also if you’ve the space you could maybe even set up a mini-agility course for her. Plus it will be a lot more enjoyable for you both rather than bumping into everyman and his off-lead dog!

    I really hope Judy’s confidence grows and that you can eventually start to enjoy your walks. She’s very lucky to have you as her owner 🙂

    • Hi LE and thank you for your lovely words. It is so nice to know we are not alone. I too have days where we don’t walk in the hope it will bring her stress levels down…but I’ve got to say at the moment nothing seems to be working. Unfortunately, at home in our own garden she is stressed because next door now have a puppy and poor Judy just runs up and down/ up and down all the time she is outside, so it’s impossible to get her attention even with the tastiest treats in the garden… is so sad to see her. Some days inside the house she now just paces round and round our kitchen table and barks at every little noise and she only settles when I hold her close and now we can’t even now get her to play to relax her as she doesn’t want to know (though she has never played more than a couple of minutes at a time since we brought her home in Oct). So I am praying that the medication works as we are running out of things we can do. We all love her to bits as she is so affectionate, but I must admit I am beginning to wonder if she really would be best with someone who will be much more able to give her a life with far less stress than a built up busy town can give her……but it will break our hearts to let her go.

      • The predicament you are facing is heart-breaking, I imagine the time that you are spending with Judy to try and help her overcome her problems is actually making your bond with her that much more stronger. Its an ironic twist that I certainly didn’t see coming; the one thing that should have divided me and Lara actually bought us closer together.

        You’ve put so much effort in for little Judy already and she clearly loves/trusts you, that’s evident in that she calms down when you hold her. I think the biggest question you may have to ask yourself is; can you imagine spending the next 10+ years caring for this little dog knowing that some of her issues may go unresolved?

        The time and energy you have put in so far is incredibly admirable, a lot of people would have given up on her straight away and sent her back but you clearly are trying you’ve very best and that’s all you can do.

        I truly hope things do start to improve for you both.

      • Thank you LE, what you said was just what I needed to hear. I have spent hours crying over Judy now as we all love her to bits and I have also spent hours trying to work out if it was something I had done to make her worse, but the behaviourist as said it is the environment (i.e. the dog next door, the cars we walk past to get to the park etc etc)…though this doesn’t help us now. Our behaviorist is coming on Sunday to talk things through with us.

  12. I hope that the problems with Judy are resolved, it is heart-breaking and makes you feel so helpless when these things happen. The new garden is taking shape nicely, you have just reminded me that my leek seeds are still in their packet, tut tut. I will rectify that soon.

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