The greyhounds in our Saturday group walk to heel, halt when commanded, execute right and about turns and wait in their beds before being called to their owners’ sides. They also practise playing with toys and surrendering them in exchange for a treat.
You can see that Isis and I need to do our homework.
We are now walking in the park with our new Mekuti harness. Hairy One seems uncertain about it, I note. Not surprising. I have threaded the lead through the wrong ring and poor Isis, as Be. points out, is listing to the right. I rethread the lead and Isis perks up.
Now I must focus on drawing my left thumb and forefinger up the ‘top’ lead strand to signal a change is about to occur, remember to use this strand to indicate ‘halt’ and the ‘bottom’, right hand strand to steer her forward. Very demanding for someone with poor co-ordination and a lousy short-term memory.
At home we are working on ‘stay’. She readily sits or lies in her bed and seems to understand that the palm of my hand in front of her nose means that she is to remain where she is. She now does this for between five and ten seconds. I have to remember to walk back to her side to reward her after the ‘stay’, not stand in front of her as the latter will encourage her to move towards the treat and break the stay.
She still enjoys gnawing my fingers and toes but is extending her range now. Every day I engage her with a soft toy and encourage her to play. This is beginning to pay off. She is usually willing to swop a toe for a toy; also, unless she is very worked up, I can divert her from gnawing her own feet by introducing a fight with one of the two large teddy bears which share her futon space.
And this week, after waking me at five a.m. – a rare treat, fortunately – she follows me back upstairs. Once I have leapt back into bed, she proceeds to remove items of clothing from the chair to chew on. I shoot back out and hastily put all the clothes beyond her reach. She then lifts the cushion from the chair. Another leap. After rescuing the cushion I give her a toy dog. To my delight she lies on the rug and plays with it for several minutes.
By now, relaxed and sleepy, she clambours onto the bed for a good night’s sleep. Unrelaxed and wide awake, I switch on the World Service.
Isn’t it interesting that Lenny Henry has no dog with him in the Premier Inn adverts?
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.com