Hopefully this week we will be able to erect Biggles’ agility bar in the garden. Gav gave it to me for Christmas but due to the inclement ground conditions we have not yet been able to put it up. Thankfully, it does have 3 or 4 adjustable height settings so I can ease my poor legs gradually into high jumping (ok a slight exaggeration) again. It is a long time since I did the scissors high jump (and I could never grasp the Fosbury flop – there is something about throwing yourself backwards and upside down, that is just not right). I am assuming that, as he is quick to learn, Biggles will soon get the hang of the idea that it is intended that he jumps over the pole rather than watch, with head cocked to one side, and laugh at me trying to do so.
He has certainly proved that he can pick up on things very quickly. I also had a book teaching you how to get your dogs to do ‘tricks’. Basics like sit, down etc are covered, of course, but there are some that are probably not best taught, for example opening doors. I hate to imagine what new chapter of delights that could open if he learned how to let himself out of the house as and when the desire took him! Maybe when he is older and wiser, but not while the wannabe-Houdini urges still gush through his veins as freely as they do now. There is even a ‘fetch beer from fridge’ command which, to me, is liking tempting an innocent man. It would take a well-trained, strong-willed dog not to have a crafty snuffle at the lump of cheddar cheese or sausages sitting harmlessly next to the beer, before trotting off happily – mission successfully completed in more ways than one.
Since having the book we have been able to teach him "speak" and "roll over", whilst finishing off the training for "shake hands" that I had started quite by accident a few weeks before Christmas. I don’t really believe in teaching dogs to perform things like beg but there are plenty of fun things he can learn that I am sure he will enjoy doing. In fact 101 of them all told!
Over the past couple of weeks, he has taken to sitting on the chair next to me while I am working and laying his head in my lap. I think if he were asked he would probably say that he wished he was a King Charles spaniel or some such other lap dog! He just hasn’t managed to get his lanky legs under control yet and gets himself tied up in such uncomfortable looking knots sometimes, and then falls off the chair.... to a quiet snigger from whichever cat happens to notice.