William Powell Country

Straight from the Dog’s Mouth
Part 6


Article written by 02 May 2013

“Ted here and hello to anyone who remembers me.  I am now a one year old golden retriever (I have had my birthday since I last wrote before Christmas) training to be a working dog like my brother Oak.

It has been a strange year so far.   It all started so well with my owners taking me to their place on the coast in Suffolk for New Year.  Oak and I went for terrific walks around the marshes which were virtually flooded.   But doom struck even before we had left for home with my owner getting man flu which meant I did not get a decent walk for three weeks, so that saw January off!  Apart from my birthday January was pretty boring.

The days were still short so as my owner got better any time for training was limited and then the snow came, and went, and came again which I thought was great but my owner got increasingly frustrated with… still no training.  I was becoming more and more naughty, taking advantage of my owner by not coming back when he called me, at least not until I had finished what I was doing.  I even caught a rabbit one day and ran around the field with it.

Then he got his revenge.  Oak and I were bundled off to boot camp for a week while he went away.   Fancy going away without his favourite naughty puppy, but never mind.

Any way we went back to Kevin’s, who is a friend of my owners, down in Herefordshire.   I still do not like going in the car and all my bouncy nature is put aside as I feel and often am as sick as a dog.

Kevin has this brilliant place with training fields right next to our kennel.   I was sharing with Oak and we were taken out every day for training.   The biggest difference was that Kevin would not let me get away with the behaviour I tried on with my owner.  He was very patient and just showed me what he wanted and then waited until I did it.  In the end I realised that he would not give in before I did so I had to do it right.  I heard him saying to my owner when he came to collect me that he was far too nice with me and I needed to have higher expectations.

When my owner had tried getting me to retrieve a training dummy I knew that I could run out and get it, look my owner in the eye, and then run off around the field until I felt like coming back.   Sometimes just to get my owner really mad I would run to the other side of the field, pretend to get distracted by a particularly interesting smell, and leave the dummy over there for him to collect.  He used to go a lovely shade of purple and I was never sure if it was rage or blood pressure when he had to run over to the other side of the field.

I tried it with Kevin a few times, but the training area was smaller and he would catch me and put me on the lead, take me back to where I was when I went wrong and we would just start again.   It was a battle of wills and one I am sad to say I was losing.

Fortunately, after eight days my owner returned and I went home.

But how things have changed.  He started taking me and Oak out separately, I had no one to distract me and my owner was much firmer than before, still very kind and with lots of treats in his pockets for me, but I was just not allowed to get away with my naughty stuff.   He has started using a firmer voice so that I know he means business.

There is progress though as I have decided that walking to heel is much more fun off the lead and we have now started going for walks right around the woods nearby, and I am off the lead all the time walking to heel.   Over an hour of walking off the lead instead of the few minutes I could manage before.  I even get taken to the pub now so I meet lots of interesting people who all adore me of course,so again a win there.

I have even decided that coming back to my owner when he calls makes me feel better as he is so happy, gosh , I must be growing up.

Kevin had me retrieving a dummy like never before but so far I just have not felt so grown up that I want to do this for my owner yet.   Sometimes I feel like it and sometimes I don’t because there are some interesting smells to sniff just around where the dummy has landed.   I can do it and that just makes my owner mad so he has me sitting and holding the dummy and not doing any retrieves at all.  Then he calls me a short distance to him which I usually manage but the dummies taste better at Kevin’s so sometimes I drop my own.   If I keep doing this he might send me back to Kevin’s and I like it there so that would be a result!

What’s this? I have just heard my owner on the phone to Kevin and it seems Oak and I are going back there.  I wonder when that is where my owner is going this time?

Well, till I know more, bye for now from Ted”

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