New regular posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday September 27th 2015
Working all day on the fence, I have a ring side view of Isis at play. She has a bright red plastic paper bin donated by Ca. But she hardly dignifies it with a sniff. She favours a very muddy, much mouthed octopus-like aqua toy, comprising a tennis ball covered in a thick, waterproof cloth from which dangle long strips of the same fabric. Carrying it in her mouth, chin held high, she trots round and round the whirligig.
Then, suddenly, she bursts out of her routine, and, dropping the octopus, gallops madly up, down and across the garden space.
When she tires of this, she begins stalking my washing
and spends quite a lot of the afternoon trying her luck.
My tool bag is close to the fence on my side. Isis approaches. And sniffs the fence. Out shoots a white, hairy foot. Scrape. One of the handles is now on her side. Flash quick, she snatches the handle between her beautifully honed teeth and phtt! Half of the bag is now on her side. Dashing out through the gate, I snatch it back. It’s not that long since she would have fought angrily for her prize but now she relinquishes it quite amicably and wanders off to seek alternative entertainment.
I am popping out for an hour or so today and go inside briefly to get ready. When I emerge to bring Hairy One in I find her in ‘my’ garden space, happily reclaiming stuff. Thankfully, she has entered through the remaining gap She has not eaten my fence – yet. This afternoon I will begin work on closing the gap. Then we’ll see.
As I write I become aware of a sudden burst of new activity in the garden. Argh ! She now has my collapsible plastic box. Again I’ve hung up the washing and left the box behind. Another hasty exit. Again she lets me have it without a struggle. Is anyone local upgrading their plastic linen basket? She loves openwork plastic baskets even more than collapsible boxes and will play with them for days.
When Isis realises that her peremptory woofs prompt me to vacate the kitchen midway through dog’s breakfast or tea preparation and that this will happen every time, she struggles at first to contain herself and takes to retreating up the hall for a quick woof. But finally she manages to wait quietly in the kitchen during food preparation, only taking a silent twirl in the hall to ease the tension. And she sits next to me without being commanded while I remove her water bowl from her stand and deliver her meal. A tiny tap under the chin and collumph! She’s devouring her meal. This bit of training has been 100% over the last few weeks.
The eating is still wild and very noisy and she has resumed the tail chasing when her meal is finished, despite the extra food waiting for her in her treat dish.
It is, of course, much easier to teach a dog to do something that to stop doing something. I will have a go at eliminating the undesirable behaviour but I think I’ll give her a couple of weeks of 100% achievement with the first two meal-time tasks before I begin (again).
The most important changes for me are that she’s a much happier dog, she’s still not bitten herself and drawn blood since April, her nightmares appear to be decreasing and she frequently wags her tail when I touch her.
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 email@example.com or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk