Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday April 30th 2017
In case anyone is wondering, Isis and I are still working on the very early stages of our foundation course for recall training. We continue to do our whistle practice every day.
Isis is still alarmed by the sound of the whistle but no longer runs away. We had to abandon the cuddles on the futon designed to reassure her when I blow the nasty whistle. I usually get away with a little fuss first thing in the morning or if she becomes afraid when off lead in the park. On most other occasions, she makes it abundantly clear that I’d better keep my hands to myself.
After tolerating the first three ‘reassuring’ cuddles, she reminds me forcibly that she is not a cuddly dog. Cuddles on the futon are definitely no longer acceptable. Have I taken leave of my senses, she wonders, or am I just trying to annoy her? She growls meaningfully and threatens to nip me. I don’t think she will nip me but I can take a hint.
Perhaps the early ‘cuddle with whistle’ sessions did desensitise her a little. Anyhow, now our training goes like this: I stand two or three feet inside the kitchen door with an enticing treat in my hand. I blow the whistle in a ‘toot-toot’ rhythm and wait.
Isis responds immediately. She cowers and flattens her lovely ears against her head. But she is still keen to have the treat. She moves slowly, slowly, from the back room into the hall and then a few inches further, eventually poking her deliciously spotty nose cautiously round the kitchen door to take the treat from my hand. Sometimes she comes a few feet into the kitchen to find me, I stretch out my hand towards her and she licks the treat daintily off my palm before retreating to the back room.
Our progress is very slow. Not usually a problem. I can do slow progress. Most of the time.
But a wonderful thing happens. As she gains confidence, her obsessive behaviour patterns diminish. The constant twirling, tail chasing and teeth clacking give way to tracking and exploring. I am delighted, of course, but her appetite for exploration grows so fast that today I spend most of our time in Highbury Park chasing her or anxiously charging off in the direction in which she last appeared to be heading.
J. and L. find my speedy exits hilarious.
Here is a very small selection of today’s disappearances.
Polymath advises me to buy Isis a tracking device. Perhaps the local police might lend the little scallywag an electronic tag.
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