Wednesday, 11 December 2013

We've been here before yet what a surprise

We've been here before, the ducking and diving, running up close then dashing off.  Taunting and teasing.

And downright dangerous.

We've been here before, the thinking progress has been made when really it has always been about choice.

Choice is a wonderful thing.  Until they choose what we would rather they didn't.

Just because we have been here before doesn't mean the results are the same or indeed that we react the same way each time.

Today we were indeed back to where we have been before and I had the glorious glow of terminal patience.  A near rare condition when it comes along you have to go with it and enjoy the ride.

Archie.

Sigh.

A play in the field after a nice cuddle and stroke, a check in to make sure he is with us and then off he goes gadding about.  Only today his games are like his games before.  Pushing shoving bullying and badgering.  You can see the look in his eyes.

Rez is doing everything right, he isn't allowing the badgering to boil him over the boy is growing up and learning.  He keeps his head aside and keeps his focus elsewhere and slows down fast clear signals that he wants Archie to go away.  Archie then goes after Phoebe where Rez is learning Phoebe has a degree she stops dead, spins and sets off stopping every time Archie gets close.  Clever dogs.  The little dogs aren't even on his radar.

So I call him in and he comes for a stroke and then he is allowed off but the badgering starts again.  We don't do Bullying.

We stop and he knows it is over.

He has fear.  He knows all about fear but this is a different fear not of pain or hurt, fear of it all stopping.  The adrenalin rush, the running with lungs burning, heart thumping and mind free of inhibition.  He is bred to run, to chase and to be relentless.  His default setting.

So he doesn't come back,  he has a plan and rushes the dogs the usual suspects who love the thrill of a run, the dash and buzz of play.  Only today it is different.  A mix we don't normally have.  A field with dogs who were walked ready to go back in after a chance to say hi to their friends and those who had just come out.  The tooing and froing means the adrenalin can hover near the top but not boiling over.  The newbies who have learnt to play, run and trust.  The guys who have been here before many times.  Only this time the ones who have been here before lead the group and they stop.

They do that you know, they stop and this time they all stop.   The newbies and cheekies follow the established guys some huddle next to Sam needing the reassurance feeling the change in the field.  Those are gently put on lead praised and hugged decision is out of the paws now they can relax no thinking required.  The little people either wander slowly or gather with the others.  Ember is scared, Norman frets.  Fluff is a little too still so I give him a command something he understands, he relaxes no longer worried about what ifs.  Is this gonna set Ember back I feel not this might just be the time she understands what we do and what we need.  Norman hates anything to be out of kilter but to focus on him or to snuggle him close isn't helping him to understand it is not him that the focus on so a sweet word or two reassures without rewarding.

So Archie goes and sniffs he isn't really sniffing he is deflecting.  He looks around seeing who might break and who might give him the buzz he craves.

Despite the running past and all he tries they stay.  He then spots Ember.....He runs at Ember she runs.  Then she finds she is on her own and doesn't like it she comes back.  This happens three times and then the change happens.

She runs= Archie scary

She tries sitting the next time.  With a tickle and a well done she stays put and Archie gives up.  She sits firm tucked into Louie nice and tight Louie is solid, a sniff and a sweet check in from Louie means Ember relaxes.  Her huddle of Charlie, Willow, Esther and Louie are her buddies they are watching her back.

And still we wait.

I don't want the good guys to miss out to get cold or to start to worry so love hug and squeeze them telling them how much we love them so and that they really are the best dogs ever.  They shuffle and start to wait for the release, they are gonna go!  I move too fast and off a couple shoot Archie's eyes glowing with excitement and a sharp word stops them and we go back to loving and hugging.

Time to end this.  Sam watches over the good guys and I reject Archie chasing him away ' No More!' 'Go Away!'  until he comes back no more.

The good guys hold firm Norman is struggling I am sending someone away so this needs to stop.

I crouch down and ask if he wants to be back in the fold. He comes slow deliberate and watching in case I become aggressive or angry.  Of course I don't those days for Archie are gone with his last life.

He comes close puts his face in mine and I turn slowly hand gently but firmly on his collar( I don't want to fly through the air with the greatest of ease) and the release is instant, glorious and a relief like no other.

Off they go noisy, joyous and more than a little giddy they come back showing off how good they are wiggling and silly.  More loves and full on play and even Norman is off mooching then coming back for a goose ( playful bum squeeze) before wiggling off again.

It is his default setting, he will revert back whenever he is over excited or has too much energy to burn. He has learnt what gets his release but is yet to really learn what gets his freedom.  Up till now he has been choosing to be good because he is getting all he needs.  Today he had too much energy, too much sass and he reverted.

Of course we have been here before and we will be here again!

We need to do more and he needs to do less, we need to do less and he needs to do more.  He is not a bad dog.  He is what he is meant to be but we changed the rules and his body and brain hasn't caught up yet.

Rez is getting there and I recon Ember is on the first step!



'Eeh I'd love to be a dog walker me, walking through the fields sun on your back, loving and hugging dogs no stress you can't even call it work.'

They are right of course and yet so far removed from the truth I simply smile and carry on!