Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday November 4th 2015
The end of October/ beginning of November is full of happenings.
Friday is the third day which has been too muddy for Isis to go out to play: the ex-lawn looks as though it is coated with a revolting ersatz chocolate.
I have dreaded this inevitable scenario. Last winter Isis was restless and barky most of the day and evening. The worst situation is when it’s filthy outside so the garden is out of bounds and then the sun comes out so she is frightened to go for a walk too.
She has rarely shown any inclination to play indoors. Toys which fascinate her in the garden are left untouched in the house. Outside, obviously, is where one plays.
Chicken Wrap (post October 28th) lies ignored on the futon. Even when I squeak it loudly close to her she ignores it completely.
But suddenly, she begins to play with it. Tentatively at first, then more animatedly. She plays for about ten minutes. When her interest begins to wane, I join her and we play together for about ten minutes. Wow. This is great.
Next I test her response to the commands she knows.’Sit’ – touch of an index finger on middle of her forehead – is often practised. No problem there. I am delighted to find that she responds instantly to the two commands which I made confusing for her by introducing them too close together: ‘walk with me’ – double tap under chin – and ‘stay’ – entire index finger laid along her muzzle. Even when I alternate these commands she responds correctly.
The ‘down’ sign is a gentle touch on a front leg, which she used to obey by growling ferociously and slapping her legs down with a bang. Now she lies down normally without a sound.
The one she fudges is ‘stand ‘. I have always used a gentle touch to her underside but she doesn’t like it her underside being touched and doesn’t stand. Fair enough. I will have to use a different sign.
Soon after I write about how well the mealtime training is going, Isis rebels. She only yoffs down a couple of mouthfuls before she gives two sharp yaps. Instant removal of food. She protests very noisily, leaping around and barking. And repeats the protests several times. After about ten minutes of this, she stops and lies quietly on the rug. After another five minutes, I return the food. Fine. But when she finishes it, she gives another couple of yaps.
I withhold the ‘treat’ bowl for five minutes. When I hold it out for her, she eats the food more calmly and quietly than ever before. When it’s finished, no yaps, snarls or growls. Bucketfuls of praise and two of her ‘special’ treats.
Last Wednesday, we meet Gra. and sa. with their dogs. Isis is still wary of Keiko but walks up to Conchobhar and gives him a gentle kiss! How sweet.
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.co.uk