Ever since Paddy has hit two years old, there seems to be a perceptible change in him. He still behaves like a lunatic on elastic when somebody he loves comes visiting. As he loves everybody – even the gardeners – that involves a lot of bouncing around. Other than that though, he’s pretty well trained. He’s an intelligent boy, thanks to the Collie in him, and he does love to please me.
Just lately though, it appears that he is trying to train me! I’ve noticed it in lots of subtle ways. It starts when we get up in the morning and he needs his first trip into the garden. He’s decided he’d rather do that without an audience, thank you very much, so if I go down into the garden with him, he jumps on the wall and starts barking his head off, even if there’s nothing to bark at. However, if I leave him to his own devices, he does the necessary, has a look around the garden and a good sniff to see what he’s missed overnight, then comes back to me.
He usually has one of his dentistix after he’s been out, but again, he’s decided he doesn’t want that every morning. The new routine is, he sits to wait for his treat, and if he doesn’t fancy the dentistix, he just sniffs at it and looks back at the drawer where his treats are kept. Then I have to offer him another substantial treat in the form of some sort of chew stick. Apparently gravy bones are not substantial enough for first thing in the morning. He also tells Tony when he’s ready for another treat – usually about two hours after the dentistick.
Paddy’s first walk of the day is a moveable feast – it happens when I get dressed. Sometimes that’s early, but more often it’s nearer midday, depending on how much writing I need to get done, and how warm or cold it is. If it’s warm, the early morning walk consists of sitting staring at lizards and butterflies in the bushes and hoping they will play with him. Being sensible lizards and butterflies and realising the sheer stupidity of trying to play with an excitable 33 kilo puppy, they don’t, so when we get back I usually throw Paddy’s rope toy up and down the walkway outside, so he can let off steam.
If it’s a cooler day, and the lizards and butterflies are tucked away somewhere warm. I don’t bother with the rope toy, but last week Paddy decided that it should form a part of our morning outing, regardless of the presence of lizards and butterflies. So, he picks it up in his mouth as we leave the house, drops it by the pedestrian gate to wait for our return, then when we get back, he looks at me, looks at the rope toy, then looks in the direction he wants me to throw it. It’s always away from our garden. If I try to throw it the other way, he just leaves it, and I have to go and get it. I have asked him why I always have to throw his toy in the same direction, but so far he hasn’t come up with a convincing explanation.
The evening walk is also a moveable feast – I don’t believe in being a slave to routine, either on my own behalf or for Paddy. However, he’s now decided that the walk should be within a certain time frame – somewhere between 8.00 and 9.00 pm, so he can settle on the sofa with me for a nice long evening of cuddles. There is a new 4 Point Plan in place. First I get the stare. If I ignore that, he’ll settle down for a few minutes, then he’ll go over to his lead, look at it, look at me, and whine. If I ignore that, he’ll give it about 10 minutes more, and then he’ll come and sit next to me and rest his head on the laptop. Last week I was finishing off a press release before I took him out – or at least I was hoping to. Even though I knew the editor well, I couldn’t see him printing this:
The Motorbike Challenge will see the Bull Boys bike around the perimeter of Spain, avoiding motorways and stopping off at schools and other institutions on the way. They’re hoping that all of Spain will join in to raise moneysadfrgtttttttteyyyik6l8o;7p-‘.ty.,mrenwbqVAsdfregtrh5yu7678iiiip0-[=]'[p;loikujyhtgrfedws!!
When I told Paddy that if he didn’t let me finish what I was doing, he wouldn’t be going out at all, he pulled out the big guns. He draped himself across my shoulders – all 33 kilos of him! Game over – Mummy 0 Paddy 1. I gave up, got the lead and we went walking. The training seems to be going well – Paddy will make a decent Puppy Mummy out of me yet!