Where it’s at

I’m not usually a Saturday blogger. Recently, I’ve been squeezing out only my Sunday and Monday blogs – bit difficult to blog when all my computer represents is work. That’s a bit easier now, of course. The tough thing is switching off when you’ve been switched on for such a long time. I never quite know what to do with myself. In England, this would be where I’d waste five hours on MTV, flicking through the channels.

Anyway, it’s not like I’m stuck for things to do. The garden is coming back under control slowly – it’s still wet so I tend to do a day or two, then it rains and it’s too wet to do anything with.

So my time is spent with the animals. Of course, Heston is a darling. With a lab/collie mix, he’s bound to be smart as a whip. He’s been with me precisely ten days and he knows ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ and ‘walk’. He is getting used to having the lead on and walking around the house with it on. Slowly, slowly. It’s like breaking in a horse. You don’t want them to think it’s a tug of war on their neck. He will walk to heel too – especially if he’s in unfamiliar surroundings. In the house, there’s too much to distract him. He will chase and fetch already, too, and is learning to give. Not bad. Two weeks, six commands.

He’s getting better at sleeping. Not quite there yet, with two 5:50 get ups, though I blame Noireau. Damn cat decides it’s time to play with my wardrobe. I don’t know why but he’s fascinated by it. He tries to open it every single morning. That wakes Heston up. Then he wants a wee. That wakes me up. I get up and that wakes Tilly up. We all go out for a wee, then the beasts think it’s breakfast time. I hold off feeding them all until 7:00 am. If they’re in the habit of waking up for breakfast and know I’ll get up to give to them, then that’s a no-brainer. I don’t want him training me. Yes, he whines to go out. That I can live with. We go out. Then we go back to bed, or I get up, but breakfast is 7 am. No way he’s connecting getting up with eating. That’s a recipe for disaster. After a restless Monday and Tuesday, I was all ready to get the crate out and crate him overnight, but I think he knew. Wednesday, he slept until Noireau woke us all up. No puddles. No whining.

What’s totally cute though is the change in Tilly. When she first arrived, I did some basic training with her, but she was not so easy to train. She managed ‘sit down’ and ‘out’ (of the kitchen) but that was about it. To be honest, she walks to heel, never runs off and is only in need of some correcting on her jealousy and guarding, so it didn’t seem worth it. She had no interest at the time in being petted and she was only interested in a reward.

As the eighteen months have passed, she’s become much more affectionate. She always guards me when we have guests. She sits between me and them as if to say I’m hers and they can’t have me. She sleeps on the bed and will abide being petted without growling. She even likes cuddles now, too. Fancy being a dog who didn’t like cuddles! She still barks a lot more than I wish she would, and she’s still a nervous little dog, but she’s really stepping up where Heston is concerned.

First, she would sit. She wasn’t good at waiting. She never waited for a treat. Why bother? She’d just lose attention.

She doesn’t like playing, though she’ll sometimes chase a bone now, despite watching dogs play and play and play.

However, the other day, she sat down for a treat, and totally spontaneously, her paw came up. It was a kind of weird ‘don’t know how that happened’ kind of a paw, but she gave me a paw all the same. Now she wasn’t asked, but she did it anyway and it was too cute. It was so cute I gave her two treats. Heston’s lightning-quick but Tilly’s special, and for her to have learned to wait is a big deal. And, after two years of teaching, she’s given me a paw.

No matter how clever and lovely Heston is, my Tilly-Woo is the cutest little doggie ever. God love her!

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