Jake has been here for 3 weeks now, and he’s been working hard. He’s had such a lot to do in our previously undoggy home.
First of all there was the indignity of the harness. He’d been on a harness when we took him on walks from the sanctuary, so we bought one. Pale blue, with dark blue bones. The girls were very pleased with it. Jake put up with it for about 2 days. If he was going to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with round these parts, the puppy look had to go. His collar and extendible lead allow his gravitas to show through. He is no longer the laughing stock of the canine world.
He’s had to repel all sorts of threats: planes, birds, window cleaners, greeting cards on the mantelpiece and, worst of all, those paralympic athletes. It took weeks of effort to scare them away. They kept showing up with their magic wheelchairs and their cheering and their flashing lights and they simply wouldn’t listen to him. The swimmers were the worst. Very Loud Barking and Quivering Tail were required to get rid of them. But, he’s a stubborn boy, used to perserverance. He won in the end. The goldfish still needs a regular reminder of just who is boss- it keeps forgetting.
Routines are very important. Sleeping in his bed, or around the foot of the stairs is fine until I get up, and we all go out as Girl2 heads off to school. Spurs Fan and Girl1 may have got a grunt from him with their early starts, but not much more. After the walk, it’s time for breakfast and sleeping in the dining room. I was going to a meeting yesterday, so I went to draw on a face after the walk. When I came back, he was pacing about the kitchen accusingly- did I not know he needed me to be in the dining room if he was to relax properly? What’s a dog meant to do if he doesn’t know what I’m up to? Apparently he was most unsettled the night I went to Bookclub. Everybody else just went to bed as if nothing was wrong, but one of the household was missing. Like the parent of a teenager, he wasn’t a bit happy until I was safely home. At least when the teenage years hit, Spurs Fan will have company in his anxiety. I will be asleep.
Walks are straighforward now that we let him decide the general direction. After a spur of the minute walk meant I had to do shopping just to get an emergency plastic bag, all the coats are fully stocked up with little bags. A particularly smelly bundle makes me appreciate bins left out for collection, or half empty skips. Carrying that around for 40 minutes isn’t my idea of fun. I have been persuaded to bring earphones on the morning walk: I get less bored in the rain, he does more sniffing.
The next big battle for him is dog food. We think he’s been used to greater delights than we’re giving him. Tasty, human food, no less. Sometimes we mix tuna or left overs in with the dog food to convince him of its value, but sometimes he needs to be very hungry before he deigns to eat it. Those nice gravy covered treats? He just licked off the gravy. He’ll probably be expecting a roast on Sunday. He may guilt me into mummy cooking yet.
We’re working ourselves out. He’s training us well.