Were I a dog I am not sure what form I may take. There are times when I act like a Rottweiler, attacking and biting just about everyone in range, usually out of temper rather than malice to be fair. Other times I am just one of those shaggy Retriever things, soft as a ripe fig and about as intelligent, only with better hair. Then I have my Pointer moments when I want to run away, free as the wind with nothing more on my mind other than the maximum distance from everything around me. Pointers do this, trust me, we had one for 14 years. Some days I can be cynical, like a Dachshund, sitting around summing everybody up, applying my own snippets of wisdom about them and generally taking the piss. Then there is the mongrel in me; unkempt, haphazard, lazy in a really busy kind of way, so much to do there's no time to fit it all in, so I chase my tail in hope I catch up with it all. Sometimes I do.
I proffer these scenarios as I am at present in the process of training Haggis, our wee Border Terrier pup. I have to say she is a sweetie, calm as a moonlit lake, both loving and kind, a model dog almost. I am not one who believes in re-incarnation or any other sort of supernatural mumbo-jumbo but if I were, I would find it incredibly hard to digest the fact that when I looked for a dog to replace Louis, our pointless pointer, I wished for one that would be all of the above, as he was, only with a little more obedience. And that pretty much, sums up wee Haggis. She is happy off her lead, unlike Louis was admittedly, and will generally follow to heel. She doesn’t want to attack every other dog she meets, unlike Pooper who has just about grown out of that phase at 15 years old. To the contrary, when she meets another dog she wants to play and kiss it, something that may backfire one day perhaps.
As has been mentioned many times before, neither of our last two dogs were well behaved, not when it came to being in public anyway. Much of this was down to the fact that we never made the effort to discipline them when they were young.
So, I bought a whistle. Not just any whistle but one so high pitched it would fetch the tiles off the roof, let alone shatter your molars. Never being one to read a 'how-to' manual in my life, I reckoned that if the dog heard the sound and then received a biscuit, it would surely eventually work out a sense of recall, whistle=come here? Placebo at its best. Hmm. What I hadn’t also banked on was that this wee dog really is in the image of her predecessor Louis in the fact that she is a total foodie. Yes, the whistle/biscuit thing does work ok, but generally for the wrong reason. This is because she has worked out that during this training exercise, which carries on every day, I have pockets full of these munchy morsels. Hence, what is the point in being far away from me, when they are literally on tap. So now, instead of a wee dog, I just have a shadow following me round 24/7.
Well. At least it's better than running across ploughed fields chasing the damn thing, that's for sure. One thing I was advised before getting a Border was that they have a stubborn streak and that I can testify to. At present the stubbornness is to not bugger off from under my feet when she is told to, especially when I am carrying a tray of drinks, near the swimming pool. What could possibly go wrong?