Archive for Dawg

Lifelong Learning

Three months in to our relationship with Jake, and the education continues. More lessons have been learned, and I have no doubt that more will follow. To whit:

1. The patience required to train a dog who has not received the appropriate guidance about his manners as a puppy increases exponentially with age. The expression “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” may not be absolutely true, but it does have a basis in truth.

Jake’s propensity for pulling on the lead when out walking is quite impressive, but for the continued well-being of my shoulders, it’s got to stop. Having sought the guidance of a professional dog behaviourist, he’s showing some signs of improvement, bordering on co-operation, but there’s still some way to go.

2. His aggression towards other dogs is really to do with his assuming responsibility when a potential conflict – however slight – arises. Even if the other dog is hundreds of yards away and not acting aggressively, his full attention is focused on it, until the perceived danger is gone. I have learned that it’s up to me to intercede and impose myself as the one who is taking responsibility for managing the “threat”, not Jake.

These, and other, behavioural issues are signalled by Jake’s body language. I need to learn to interpret the signals and to take control in a way that Jake understands. Treating Jake simply as a child, rather than being the dominant member of a pack is not an easy thing to achieve, because it isn’t a normal relationship for humans (well, not all humans, anyway…)

3. The big lesson arising from 1. and 2. is – patience and consistency. Changing the behaviours will take time; it won’t happen overnight. Wish me luck!

and finally…

4. Springer Spaniels can shed hair like no other living thing known to man! My vacuum cleaner is working overtime, and each time it gathers enough fur to knit a jumper with. It’s seemingly infinite. The really galling thing is that it doesn’t seem to have any effect on the coverage of his body – he’s still got total coverage. When I lost hair, it went for good and the evidence is there on my cranium for all to see. Or rather, it isn’t.

Next time I write about Jake’s progress, I hope to be able to report great progress with his manners. Watch this space.

Lessons learned



Tomorrow will mark two weeks since Jake descended upon us, and inevitably, it has been a huge learning curve. Lessons learned so far:

1) Sofa no-go zones can not be adequately policed.
2) It is impossible to tire a springer spaniel out. It just can’t be done, although they will challenge you to try every day.
3) Springer spaniels are a bottomless pit of love, which constantly overflows.
4) When I die, I will be the fittest man in the cemetery.
5) Springer spaniels are not in the least bit interested in photography, and don’t want to sit still while you compose and execute your latest masterwork, whether they are the subject or not.
6) Tesco’s food bags you know – the ones that they only want you to take one of at a time (challenge accepted) – are risky implements for picking up loose doggy-dos.
7) Whoever designed dog-harnesses was a genius. Sadly, getting a dog into said harness requires a similar level of intelligence, which I clearly don’t possess.

I suspect I still have plenty to learn…

Still, it’s a fun journey, and while the hoped-for weight-loss is slow in materialising, I can console myself in the suspicion that I was one of the few who lost any weight at all over the Christmas and new year period.

I’m expecting great things in this direction imminently.

New arrival – welcome, Jake



Tomorrow will see the addition of Jake to the household here at Derwyn Towers.

Jake is a rescue dog, a springer spaniel who’s currently at North Clwyd Animal Rescue. He was a stray, picked up somewhere near to Ruthin, evidently, and is about 3 years old.

His role in the house will primarily to be loved and cared for, which I’m sure he’ll manage and repay in spades, as springers have lovely personalities.

His secondary role is to be taken for lots of walks, and by doing so, to help me to regain some degree of fitness and hopefully lose some weight into the bargain. Since springers are endowed with boundless energy, I can’t see him failing from lack of effort.

So, welcome, Jake. I’ve no doubt that you’re about to turn our cosy world upside down, but I’m sure we’ll adapt and be the better for it.