Tuesday, March 31, 2009
We each get the dog that we want...
Many people want a perfect dog. They get frustrated when the dog irritates them with its quirks and its bizarre behaviours. Me, I love these things. I always wanted a cheeky dog. I wanted a dog that would not be afraid to cajole me into giving attention, one that would dare to push the limits a little in order to see what she can get away with. Sure, I love the obedience and, I must say, I'm very proud of Ellie's obedience, but as she's getting older, she's getting a little more confident and it's this which brings me the most joy.
Recently I taught her to go and grab the telephone when it rings, or when she hears the word "phone". It's a great trick and skill. However, so delighted is Ellie with her new skill that I find myself being presented with a phone at every opportunity. Late evening, I can be laid on the sofa watching television, only to find Ellie sat on her hind legs, like a meercat, holding the phone in her mouth, right in front of me. She seems to appreciate that I can't see through her and so she's sure to win eventually. Her 'prize' is to get the tennis ball that is always in my pocket. I've tried ignoring her, but it's impossible. Impossible because, secretly, I don't really want to ignore her anyway. I think it's funny that she has the cheek to do it in the first place.
The other night, we seemed to have a contest. She grabbed the phone and brought it to me. I returned it as I hadn't asked for it. This continued for what must have been about ten times in succession. I gave in!
So do we really get the dogs that we ask for? I really do hope so!
In other news, I've finally managed to teach Ellie to bark on request. For some people, this is so easy. I've found it incredibly hard to master. Mainly because Ellie is rather a sedate dog and hard to excite. In the end I used a cheeky little method to get her frustrated. I taught her right and left a while back so that I can steer her at distance down different dirt tracks when we're walking, or, as has proved more valuable, to steer her towards the ball when she loses sight of it in the fields.
I began to thrust my arms so quickly that Ellie couldn't understand which way I wanted her to go, left or right. Eventually she got so frustrated that she began to bark. Bingo! I then took it from there and she now, finally, barks on command! Will I regret that? Some tell me that I will, but hey, when have we ever been confined by convention. :)
Posted by The Dog Man