Long time readers might remember my parents’ dog, Leo. He’s reputed to be part Labrador and part collie but I think there’s fair evidence to suggest some kangaroo genes too.
It would be churlish of me to suggest he’s as bonkers as ever; he’s three now and is maturing. A bit. But my parents are getting more elderly and if I were to draw a graph that showed their aging against Leo’s springiness, he’s not growing up quite fast enough.
To that end (and to make myself useful) I’ve been training Leo. At least, I’ve been trying. His Dad was a gun dog and his Mum a collie so he’s infinitely trainable and intelligent but, am I?
I’ve been using the command ‘slowly’ with a hand up to show him not to bolt. It’s a sensible word and he might hear someone using it that didn’t know he understood it. And he might, you know, actually go slowly. First of all I couldn’t make him take more than a step but eventually he began to string the steps together. He looks like someone playing “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?” Maybe he just looks like a dog taking the piss (out of me.)
We’ve been practicing when Leo has been outside or behind a shut door or is waiting to be allowed to eat his dinner/breakfast because that’s the moment that he bolts. It’s a bit of problem if it’s before food because he’s a dog in slow motion: he dribbles all the way, leaving large globules of dog slobber in heaps on the floor.
As if a slippery floor isn’t adding another level of risk to my parents’ stability, we appear to have reached a kind of impasse. He’s doing metres of slow but it doesn’t matter how far he is away from his plate of food – even a foot away – he always thinks eventually that I’ve stopped asking him to go slowly. The second he decides this (or let’s face it, I’m far enough away to be ignored) he unleashes the control and launches his 32 kilograms into the air like someone has released him from a canon.
I’m giving up. I’ve decided that that might be more dangerous than some simple exuberance.