The Princess Tails

The Musings of Zena, a Tibetan Terrier sharing her life and wisdom with Raffles, a Standard Poodle

Warrior Princess

42 Comments

Groucho from Groucho the Wonder Westie gave me this idea and I’ve been thinking about it ever since he mentioned it.

The suggestion was a result of my last post when I was talking about how big Raffles is. He obviously felt sorry for me in comparison to the hulk that is my puppy Raffles. I have to say that I still harbour a certain amount of resentment towards The Help. She promised me a puppy and look what I ended up with. Although he’s great in many ways, he is not my idea of a puppy and I am not ready to forgive her for that yet. I feel short-changed.

Anyway, in my last post I described how my going out into the garden seemed to be viewed by Raffles as an invitation to play. The most basic of trips has become fraught with danger and embarrassment.

Groucho suggested I use evasion tactics. What a brilliant idea! Evasion. Self-defence. I have been planning ever since.

I really need number one son to help me here, or even number two son. They are both good at emergency response and they have both attended and led courses on survival and how to behave in high riskΒ  situations like kidnapping in overseas countries, the places where they work.

However, because they tend to be working in overseas countries they are never around when you need them so I can’t ask them what I should do. I have tried to remember some tips and I have come up with some ideas myself.

1. Risk Assessment

One of the things that number one son is trained in is risk assessment. This is the first step really. You have to decide if you might be at risk. Am I at risk walking to the dog park? Not really. I am in safe company, an unlikely target for kidnapping (even though I do understand I am special) and Raffles is busy focussing on getting to the park.

Am I at risk at the park? Very definitely. I am now with the big dogs and let me tell you they do not take prisoners. When they are tearing around and playing games it is like ten-pin bowling at the park! Owners flying everywhere πŸ™‚ But, because I stay alert and I have identified the risk I have only been bowled over once.

Having assessed the level of risk I am keeping my distance from the unruly Poodles!

Assessing the risk and keeping my distance from the unruly Poodles!

Am I at risk at home. Sometimes.

Having assessed the level of risk I have to make some decisions. How am I going to respond to that risk.

Risk assessment means being alert at all times. It may look like I’m just meandering down the garden path but really I am alert and watching. Every muscle is a coiled spring, every sense scanning for danger. If you are living with a puppy or a kitten you can never relax, never go ‘off duty’.

I may look relaxed and asleep but if you look closely.... my eyes are open ever aware of danger. FYI camera's are now constituting a danger in our house!

I may look relaxed and asleep but if you look closely…. my eyes are open ever aware of danger. FYI camera’s are now constituting a danger in our house!

2. Response

a) Run – This is always my first response. If you can find a gap, run and don’t stop running until you have reached your safe place wherever that may be. If you are away from home and feel the need to run from danger it is probably wise not to run to your own home because then the pursuer would know where you live. It is usually counselled that you run to a friend πŸ™‚ Great. Then the pursuer knows where your friend lives. Lucky friend!

Run.......

Run…….

Sometimes it is impossible to run, perhaps you are cornered or injured. At the moment I am having paw problems and running fast is not an option for me so I have to use other tactics.

If you can’t run it might be useful to try and figure out what the attacker wants from you.

b) Assess the level of danger. If Raffles is just after a toy I make a decision whether it is worth the yips and grumbles and fake attacks to keep that toy or if I just hand it over without a fuss. If there is any risk of personal danger I would hand it over at once. No possession is worth my being injured. Fortunately the level of risk with Raffles is usually measured by the proportion of slobber I am likely to be covered in!

How badly do I want the toy?

How badly do I want the toy?

Not that badly, it was finished anyway :-D

Not that badly, it was finished anyway πŸ˜€

At all times your aim should be to escape so even when negotiating you should be scanning for escape routes and ways to RUN if you can without inflaming the ‘attacker’. Usually when I run I manage to go faster than the pup and I know I can turn quickly so I will always go for this option. If you are not certain of outrunning the pursuer this is never a good move.

And again I say..... RUN......

And again I say….. RUN……

If you cannot run you may be forced into a situation where you need to defend yourself. It is surprising what useful tools are with us all the time and when it comes to an emergency these can be called upon.

c) Defend yourself. I have great sharp teeth, not so good claws. Occasionally a tool may come to hand which can intimidate an attacker, use anything you can if it comes down to it.

Under that friendly, happy tongue is a row of sharp teeth ready and waiting to defend me.

Under that friendly, happy tongue is a row of sharp teeth ready and waiting to defend me.

d) RUN. It is never too late to seize the opportunity if you see a gap. As you may have realised by now this is always my preferred approach.

At my best Raffles cannot catch me - he falls over his big paws!

At my best Raffles cannot catch me – he falls over his big paws!

e) Look Confident. Through it all make sure that your state of mind is positive. This will show in your body language. I have found that I have a tendency to let my tail drop, a sure sign that I am feeling overwhelmed. Positive self-talk is good and can be as much of a weapon as my teeth. If I look like I’m beaten, I am beaten.

This sort of posture would make me vulnerable to attack at any time.

This sort of posture would make me vulnerable to attack at any time.

Here I am showing confidence and being in control despite having a marauding puppy following my every move.

Here I am showing confidence and being in control despite having a marauding puppy following my every move.

f) Call for help. If running is not an option and the confrontation hasn’t worked my last resort move is to call for help, or scream as loudly as I can. This will usually bring the attention of others and almost always result in the attacker running away themselves. Screaming is good. I have a great voice but haven’t had to resort to this one with Raffles. If you are able to scream and run this will often ‘encourage’ the attacker to break off the pursuit knowing that your cries will most likely have been heard and already others could be drawn to the area.

I am a mere blur leaving Raffles to make a vain attempt at catching me.

I am a mere blur leaving Raffles to make a vain attempt at catching me.

g) Hide. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot run and for some reason drawing attention to yourself is impossible or doesn’t seem like a good move you can hide using the environment around you.

I find long grass a great hiding place, bet you can't see me.

I find long grass a great hiding place, bet you can’t see me.

One of my favourite hiding places at home, under the desk. Raffles is too big to fit.

One of my favourite hiding places at home, under the desk. Raffles is too big to fit.

If you do not see a good hiding place use camouflage. I am great at this. Depending on where you are you do your best to merge into your surroundings and your attacker can’t find you. Unless of course your attacker happens to have a long snout and incredibly good smell ability! But it works when I’m hiding from The Help at bath time!

In the strong Australian summer sun I often merge into the shadows at the dog park and I find that if I add a few bits of dried grass my disguise is complete!

In the strong Australian summer sun I often merge into the shadows at the dog park and I find that if I add a few bits of dried grass my disguise is complete!

My favourite. Black dog, black bedding. It works every time :-D

My favourite. Black dog, black bedding. It works every time πŸ˜€

h) Play Possum. Finally. If all else has failed – play dead. I warn you this is a messy technique which almost always results in my being chewed and sucked and being covered in puppy lick, but it does mean I get a peaceful hour or two. You just have to work out if it is worth the cost.

Play dead.

Play dead.

I hope all of you keep safe and never have to use these tips but if you do remember that whenever you can the best thing to do is RUN….

Love from Zena, the Prepared Princess

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Author: Zena

I am The Princess (aka Zena), niece of Zac the All Black and awesome Tibetan Terrier who took me in when I was just a six week pup and tried to teach me all he knew. When I was six and he was eight, Zac crossed over the rainbow bridge and all of a sudden I was alone. I could no longer be the ditzy, happy-go-lucky pup that I had been. This is a diary of how one Princess managed when the world turned real.

42 thoughts on “Warrior Princess

  1. Brilliant and well-though-out strategies!

  2. Own the relationship, be dominant. Running is for the weak. Make Raffles run away from you. Take charge. It’s a terrier vs. a poodle after all.

    • πŸ™‚ I have to admit to having wimp running in my veins at this point (and maybe that’s because I’m not a true terrier?). I take one look at him and realise I would be worse off in a physical game. I don’t give him the satisfaction of walking all over me though – if I want to sleep in the bed I will, if I want the toy I will keep it how ever much he begs and whines and he does not touch my food!

  3. I have passed all this information onto Zak. He is really good at playing dead – but as he lies on his back, showing off all his bits, I am not sure this is a great strategy.

  4. Zena, you have got it tough, Having a pup wanting to play chase and btiey faces, slobbering all over me all day, I couldn’t think of anything better, I mean worse.. BOL Love your strategy’s, and the photo of you zonked out on the chair is hilarious πŸ™‚ Have a wonderful Monday xx00xxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  5. All this running is doing wonders for your figure, Zena! I’m sure Raffles will calm down and appreciate some quiet time himself – in a year or two!

  6. How brilliant!! BOL perhaps we shoud swap puppies for a bit – you can ave ernest!

  7. Those are great tips Zena. How lucky you are that two such well trained people have been able to teach you all of this. What a pity they are not around more often. I love the photos – you have some incredible shots here. Litchi has always found the black dog, black basket routine very effective. I haven’t found her trying to camouflage her butt with sticks and leaves but I’m sure she’d be happy to give it a try. Her other tip for you would be to do your garden romping at night. Black dogs are perfectly camouflaged then.

    • Oh so true about the night thing! I forgot to include that. I am usually in a hurry to have my treats and go to bed but if I wasn’t – no-one would find me πŸ™‚

  8. Great ideas Zena! You truly earned the title of Warrior Princess! πŸ˜‰

  9. You seem well prepared! And you look great on these pics btw!
    Purrs

  10. Oh you are a brilliant strategian! I think even the big dogs should pay you respect – you are THE PRINCESS ;o)

  11. Very well thought out tactics. Hope it works out for your Zena!

  12. You should teach a smaller dog defense class!

  13. Dearest Zena,
    Me LOVES your tips, BUT – Boy me is glad me is a cat!
    When my bigger little brother Kozmo comes after me, all me has to do is extend my razor sharp claws and merrrooowww my siamese merrrooowww, and he backs off.
    If he does not, me whaps him-with the claws pulled back in (a little) and that usually stops him from trying to wrestle me to the floor.
    Kisses
    Nellie

  14. Zena, we loved this post – thanks for mentioning me! We thought it very interesting, useful and we loved the photographs! I have to say, that Raffles does stick to you like glue doesn’t he??? You should buy some black carpet to put in one of the rooms in the house – then you could lie down, camouflaged – he would never see you – then you would have some peace and quiet!!!

    Woof

    Groucho

  15. Looks like Sons #1 and #2 left you with some great training…”Run” is great advice in lots of circumstances isn’t it…I do like your camo…I do that one myself πŸ™‚

  16. That are some awesome tips and photo’s, especially the camouflage-thing, hehehe. Who said live was easy.. πŸ˜€

    • I love camouflage! Rolling in possum poo is one of my favourite techniques but for some reason whenever I do that I almost always end up having a bath which does take the edge off the fun! πŸ˜€

  17. It sounds like you’ve got a plan for every situation, Zena!

  18. Awww Zena you look so beautiful in the third picture! Im glad you got to go hang out at the dog park!

  19. I’m sitting here cracking up..especially the shot of Zena wiped out! Great pictures!!!!

    • πŸ˜€ Glad you enjoy that one. That’s the one The Help took one day and then had the horrible feeling I might have died! πŸ™‚ I am chilling in my favourite spot after a hard workout at the dog park.

  20. What a hard life it is being a princess. Your advisors have done you proud but only a clever girl can use that advice to the full πŸ™‚

    • You really understand don’t you? Sigh…. It is hard being a Princess. Lying around, making sure I look cute – what pressure πŸ˜€

  21. Hi Zena hope all is well with you xxx

    • Thanks yes. The Help has had her sister-in-law over for a couple of weeks and claims she has been busy, hence silence from me. But I’m saving it all up for when it is me-time again!
      Thanks for caring πŸ™‚

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