We’ve spent the last three days trying to regain some semblance of offlead control following the debacle earlier in the week. I think we’re starting to get there.
On Friday we gave each of our little terrors separate walks in the park with the two of us. Beanie got the first shift – we felt that it would be better to deal with her while we were both “fresh”. That was a good call. We threw everything we had into holding her interest when she was offlead; we both ran around like crazy with our improvised lure (tea towel on a string), we played puppy ping-pong (recalls between us as we were running), we played hide and seek, and in between each game we aimed to have her back on lead and happily chewing away on her “pizzle” stick (infeasibly large dried bull’s penis). Throughout it all the goal was to make being with us more exciting and rewarding than a solo sprint round the park. Some of the time we succeeded, but she still managed to notch up a few adhoc tours of the countryside. It was exhausting, but by the time it was over we felt we’d made some progress.
A sublime moment of calm as we let the pizzle stick do the job of holding Beanie’s attention…
Next up was Biggles. He could easily have taken advantage of our weakened post-Beanie state, but instead our gentle little boy was mostly content to trot around having the odd sniff. With one minor exception he scarcely went more than 50 yards away from us for the whole walk.
The tea towel lure was a big hit with Biggles
A rare sight: a beagle off lead and walking to heel
We took him down to the river to escape the heat and threw treats into the water to tempt him in. Historically Biggles hasn’t been too successful at fishing out the treats. It’s not that he’s afraid of the water, it’s just that he’s completely hopeless at tracking the treats as we throw them. In the past I’ve thrown fish pieces right in front of his nose and once I even managed to hit him square in the body with a Winalot Shape (one of the charcoal fart-inhibiting variants that I usually try to hold back for our loose sphinctered little boy). Each time he just look dazed and confused while Beanie eagerly cleaned up around him. Today though he was on better form and finally seemed to be getting the hang of it all.
Biggles wasn’t completely angelic though. He got a bit carried away as he chewed on the pizzle stick and his extending lead came in for some friendly fire.
Truly, butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth!
The same can’t be said for his extending lead..
And finally, here’s a brief glimpse of the latest must-have sportswear for the fashionable Beagle: his and her doggy cooling jackets.
That’s not Photoshop trickery! They’re the real deal, hand crafted from Debenhams towels, complete with special fabric labels that were created on our inkjet printer. Susan made them up after we got a good tip from one of the trainers at Beanie’s flyball club: a great way to keep a dog cool on a hot day is to put a loose fabric jacket on them and douse it with water – evaporation quickly takes the heat away. The slogan on the labels was of course inspired by the very the same over-zealous mastication that led to the early demise of Biggles’ extending lead.