This puppy is not for turning

When I was a puppy I would get bored very quickly if training sessions weren’t exciting. I didn’t see the point in repeating the things I knew how to do, over and over again. I loved learning new things to do and that was how my bipeds kept my interest in a training session. This means I have quite a repertoire of tricks I can do for treats, which is always a good thing!

Still more bones wanted for salvage poster - with dog holding bone up

One of these tricks turned out to be dangerous for the male biped and was abandoned, but some of the tricks have come in useful and I plan to tell you about one of those today.

One of the earliest tricks they taught me was to walk backwards. My biped would be in front of me while I was standing and she would get a treat and take it right under my nose towards my chest. I would tuck my head in to get the treat but I couldn’t quite get it until I took a step back. Once I knew what she wanted me to do, she added the word “back”. After a few weeks we started to build up the number of steps I took to make it more entertaining for me.

When I was a puppy I had a knack for sticking my head, and sometimes the rest of me, into tight corners. My bipeds said that I followed my nose without a thought to getting out again. There’s some truth in that, but I still think it’s a very bad arrangement of furniture if you can push your way behind the sofa and not have room to turn around to get out again! They didn’t like me pushing the furniture out of my way, so they would say “back” to me so that I reversed out. I soon became quite proficient at reversing!

When I was about six months old and almost the size I am now, my bipeds took me with them to visit some other bipeds. I sat very quietly indoors and, when we went outside, the bipeds that we were visiting said that it would be fine to let me loose in the garden. I sniffed around the grass and played with one of my toys while the bipeds all sat and chatted.

Then I decided to go and sniff the large greenhouse that was in one corner of the garden. One of my bipeds called me away and I went back to sniffing the grass. When the bipeds were happily chatting again, I moved away and went back to the greenhouse. There was a gap behind it, leaving just enough room to walk between it and the fence.

I went into the gap and scurried along it, only to be confronted by another fence at the end of the greenhouse. It was a dead end! Before I had time to consider how I was going to get out I heard one of my bipeds say, “Clowie, keep still!”

Dead End Sign

I stayed where I was and it was only a second later that the female biped was right behind me. She said, “Clowie, back!”

I started walking backwards. Occasionally she would put a hand on one side of me or the other to keep me reversing in a straight line. It would have been so much easier with wing mirrors!

When we were out safely the male biped said, “That was a nice piece of driving – puppy and greenhouse intact!”

I don’t get into pickles like that anymore! I’m also much better at reversing now. I can reverse round a corner and I can do a three-point turn with a little help!

Diagram of three-point turn

See you next Wednesday!

The dog who cried wolf

I was keeping an eye on my bipeds who were preparing food in the kitchen, when I heard them say that it was all ready to go in the oven. They decided that one of them could take me for a walk while the other one watched the food. I’m usually enthusiastic when the word “walk” is mentioned, but I didn’t get straight up to go out.

The biped got ready and called me to the door and attached my lead. She called out “goodbye” and we set off. We had only walked a few yards when I started to limp. We stopped and the biped knelt down and I gave her my paw. I had a sorrowful look on my face. She took my paw and looked at it and she felt between my toes. She felt along my leg and put it down.

She said, “I can’t see anything, Clowie. Try a step or two and see if it still hurts.”

I put my paw down and hobbled a few paces. Then I stopped and gave her a mournful look. She knelt down and checked my paw again.

She said, “I don’t know what the problem is, Clowie. We’d better go back.”

Androcles' lion with bandaged paw

My poor paw!
Androcles’ Lion, Duthie Park Winter Gardens (Aberdeen, Scotland)
Attribution: Paul Chapman [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

We returned slowly. She opened the door and we went in. She detached my lead and I dashed to the kitchen and took up position by the oven to wait until the pheasant was cooked. The biped followed me. She stood in the doorway and looked at me for a moment. I could tell she knew that I had been faking the limp – I’d done it once before, but I’ll tell you about that another time.

She said, and at this point puppies should cover their ears for a moment, “You are a bad dog.”

Yes, that’s what she said. B.A.D. Bad! You can uncover your ears now, puppies. They hardly ever say that to me and it worries me when they do. Then she told me to get out of the kitchen. I hesitated because I really wanted to keep my nose in the vicinity of the pheasant and the other delightful smells. She said, “now” in a stern voice, so I left the kitchen with head and tail held low.

She told me that I was like the boy who cried wolf and that I wouldn’t get help when I needed it. That was obviously a whopping great fib! They’re always worried and rush to help me if there’s something wrong.

They left me on my own for a few minutes. When they called me to go and join them, I leapt up and scurried into the room. They wanted me to do some of my tricks. I did them as well as I could and I pretended not to notice that they were being stingy with the treats! It was worth it because it wasn’t long before I heard the words “good girl” and I became excited and then they made a fuss of me.

I knew I had a full pardon when I was given a tiny piece of pheasant later. I’ve never pretended to be hurt since then, but I have walked as slowly as possible occasionally when they’ve chosen to go the wrong way on a walk!

See you next Wednesday!

Love Me Tender

I used to get bored with training when I was a puppy. So I encouraged my bipeds to think of new tricks to liven up our sessions. This is a tale of how one of our tricks didn’t work out quite as expected.

I was five months old and I already knew a few tricks. The male biped said he was going to be away on business all week. My bipeds had a chat about what tricks I could learn in the week and he suggested “high fives”.

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