Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Harry the Teenager

Well, it had to happen at some point - the grumpy, awkward, time of life where self loathing is topped only by the loathing you feel for your parents - and so, almost overnight, Harry has gone from a lovable bundle of fluff to a stroppy teenager.

The changes are plentiful and joyous to behold - digging at the leather sofa, chomping on exposed body parts, complete deafness when out on walks, cheekily inching closer and closer to dinner plates before sneaking in with the ‘lizard tongue’ and throwing temper tantrums when he isn't getting all the food/ attention he wants.

Right now (and I’m sure all the parents out there will be sagely/ smugly nodding at the screen) Keith and I feel like pretty bad parents and are often at a bit of a loss at what to do with ‘Bo. Luckily for us, it’s not considered abuse when we shut him out in the garden.

So, on the advice of some very wise people on a dog forum I frequent, we have launched an offensive.

Phase 1 started last night when I took the slinky dog on his evening walk and kept him on a flexi lead in the field so we could avoid rabbitty distractions. We did lots and lots of recall training and by the time we were on our way back he was leaving scents (unheard of!!) to come racing back to me for treats.

Back home he laid on his towel to be dried off (his undercarriage is so low it gets a little muddy on walks in fields in this weather lol) and then watched me while I cooked dinner (he got a few bits of chopped veg for being so good)

Then Keith got home and it was all a little bit too exciting for ‘Bo but he eventually sat to be fussed rather than jumping up. Progress!!

After dinner, as is his new habit, Harry decided to throw a tantrum. No problem, we thought, we’ll distract him with games. So distract him we did, playing fetch, hide and seek (more hide than seek on our parts admittedly), and eventually we all managed to get some quiet time together in front of the fire.

We only resorted to a spell in the garden once – and that was when he just would not stop trying to dig through the leather sofa so he more than deserved it. In fact, he’s lucky he’s already had the snip or Keith may well have gone on the hunt for two bricks!!

I’m aware that all of this makes it sound like we are sailing through this latest phase. Not in the slightest. I have to point out that before I got home last night Harry had chewed several guests, rolled in some very dead and rotting rabbit on his morning walk and caused Keith no end of grief over the contents of his food bowl. We’re taking it in relatively good humour at the moment though, if only because dogs are only teenagers for a matter of months rather than years. As any long serving prisoner will tell you though, a month can be a very long time.

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