Oh dear, George lost the plot, Mummy lost the plot and so did I.
Last Saturday was a misty, rainy day. But we were going for a wash later in the day so Mummy thought we should get as dirty as possible. Let’s go walking in the misty rain! It is truly Autumn now … the leaves are changing colours.The park was alive with squirrels. And off we went – running, stalking, watching – me and George both.We had a good two hours ahead of us before we needed to leave the park. Mummy was prepared and had put George in a fuchsia pink Equafleece. He wears only bright neon colours so Mummy could keep track of him darting back and forth.
Forty-five minutes before we needed to leave, Mummy thought to be on the safe side, she would put George back on the leash. And so the whole plot started to unravel.This is what George does. He sits and waits for a squirrel. He spots one and chases it. He never gets them. He would look up the tree longingly and then sits and waits for the next. So Mummy would go up to him and just as she is two steps away he runs off. She tries inching up to him and just as she reaches to grab his shirt, he runs away. This goes on and on. He ran from tree to tree and then into the undergrowth which he had not done in a long while. Mummy stood an waited for him to come out.
In the meantime I too was having a ball of a time. I was hunting too while Mummy was trying to keep up with George. Then she got really mad and called me. When I went to her, she put me on my leash and together we followed George – for a whole hour!
She thought maybe if she sat down on one of the wet benches, he might come, like he always did during the summer when Mummy sat on the grass and watched us run around. But he didn’t. She was getting desperate and called the groomers to say we will be late or maybe not make it at all. To her annoyance they asked, “So what time do you think you will get here?” To which she shouted back, “I am calling you to say that I can’t get a hold of George to bring him in!!!!! So what do you think?!?!?!”
We have all lost the plot.
May’s comment: It was not a good day. I know I write with humour about George’s refusal to come back. Well, this time I was absolutely furious with him. He deliberately refused to listen and he deliberately ran away from me. I had purposefully put on his fuchsia coloured Equafleece so I can spot him better on a rainy day. It was a battle of the wills. He wasn’t ready to leave and he wasn’t going to let me take a hold of him. After letting them chase squirrels for an hour, I wanted to make sure we have 45 minutes before we had to leave.
I lost my cool. I called out to Darcy and had her back on a leash. I didn’t need to have to watch out for where is was. I was getting desperate. I thought maybe I should take Darcy to the groomers and then come back to find him. I am sure he would still be staring up a tree and someone would have gone up to him and called me.
Finally another dog saw him and wanted to play. I shouted to the owner and asked if she could get her dog to keep interacting with George so he would be distracted. I instructed her to get close and grab a hold of his shirt. That was how I managed to put him back on a leash.
I was so mad at him. I left them at the groomers and went away fuming with anger, but even then I knew it was really my fault. George, like the second child did not get the one-on-one and full-on attention as I had with Darcy. He also learnt bad habits from Darcy – he never knew squirrels before and one day he saw what Darcy was doing and joined in. He’s the instigator and whenever the two of them are together they go crazy – competing with the running. I know I owe him the time and the training on basic recall. Oh, believe me, he is completely capable of recall. In fact he is amazing! But suddenly the squirrel switch flips and he has absolutely NO interest in treats, no words like “supper” or “breakfast” which usually sends him into over excitement could have distracted his focus.
So, I can either walk with him forever on an extended leash in the park or I can teach him acknowledge my leadership and my commands. The choice is mine.