A time to gain, a time to lose

Today’s Much Love Monday is brought to you by The Byrds with the Pete Seeger classic of Turn! Turn! Turn!

Partly, you can’t beat a bit of jangly guitar and a bit of 60s psychedelia coupled with a little spiritual message on top. Sometimes we all need a little reminder that the seasons move on.

The blue skies could not have come too soon for me. The grey and the rain and the short daylight hours were messing with my mojo and making me crabby. Couple that with a big pile of GCSEs, being tired of poking the fire and being giddy to get outside and you can understand why it was beginning to feel tedious. It feels like it’s been a long winter. And no, the worst is not over yet. Météo say that there’s a couple of -6° nights left for us this week yet. But a blue sky is more than enough to get me through to the real warmth.

Not only that, but the cranes have made their appearance. Saturday afternoon, it was like we were under the flight path to crane party central. The French call it a prenuptual flight, which is kind of sweet. Eggs are on their way, Easter is but a few short weeks away and I have green shoots.

Those cranes always make me feel better. There’s something reassuring knowing that nature knows what it’s doing and the country is gearing up for spring.

Much Love for this statement: “no more portions”. It means there’s nothing left to mark and finally, it’s over. Of course, the last week is not so bad. Once you have done your allocation, you wait for the day when it’s a big free-for-all on what’s left. That means you can mark what you want to mark instead of having to mark everything. If there’s a question you don’t like so much, you can avoid it. I’ve marked another 600 of one question, on top of the 228 I had to mark. It got a little tedious but it’s really helpful because you end up REALLY knowing that question.

So, between the end of the marking and the brightening of the weather I’ve been out with the dogs. Heston has been working on his ‘stop’ and ‘turn’ commands. He ran off last week – he’s done it three times now since we’ve been going outside without the lead in August. He is so completely distracted by something that he chases it. Twice, it’s been for water. He races off and I find him in a pool of water, splashing around as if I’m a complete spoilsport for not putting it on our usual walk.

I’ve been trying to build in some training and mental exercises on our walk and get him to walk better on the lead, since he likes to be in front and I fall on him. He will walk beside me as long as he’s not too distracted and we’ve been stopping and weaving and turning with the clicker. Though he doesn’t cover as much ground, apparently, it’s more stimulating and therefore more tiring. Fewer of my toothbrushes end up being eaten and he’s much less bored.

He’s so smart that he usually picks up a command in four or five repetitions (took me ten minutes to teach him to sit, as a puppy) and when he masters it so quickly, you can understand why he’d get bored of doing it. He even knows which toy to bring, whether it’s ‘rope’ or ‘ball’ or ‘carrot’.

I know people who aren’t that smart.

Tomorrow, we’re going to work on ’emergency!’ which is a ‘come here as fast as you can’ command. It’s the kind of command you only need to use in real life once or twice because it’s the one you’d only use outside of training in a situation where you really need him to return straight away. Thus, I’m equipped with a packet of ham and a pig’s ear.

To be honest, he’s less bothered about a treat, and more bothered about a ‘good boy’ and a pat. Tilly will do anything for a treat. I think she’d learn to speak if there was a treat in it.

She was hard work at first. She learned sit pretty quickly, and ‘paw’. That was it though. To be fair, I didn’t need to train her. She’s very obedient and apart from a nervous bladder (and sometimes a stubborn streak when it’s time to go out for a wee!) she’s generally very happy. She likes to be near me, but not too near me. She likes to chew on a bone about 8 or 9pm, or else she gets restless and ferrets through the bins or roots for biscuits. She hides things, she guards stuff and she grumbles, but generally, she is a very content little dog. For a rescue, you can’t ask for much better.

However, she does her lessons alongside Heston and she is very happy to do so as long as there is a treat in it for her. It’s lovely how much she has come on and in a way, I wish I’d done some training with her before I got Heston. She’s not smart though. It takes her ages to learn a thing, and then she mostly does it because Heston has.

Much Love, then, to doggies, to sunshine, to warmth (even if it is just a hiatus) and to the end of tedious tasks.


4 thoughts on “A time to gain, a time to lose

  1. Sounds lime you’ve been having a lovely time with your cute dogs! Must be quite rewarding to have them learn something you’ve taught them. Very interesting that you have cranes flying overhead. I love to hear about the wildlife in far away places.

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