Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rumble in the Jungle

Opening a carton of yoghurt no problem
I reckon that from the time I gave Max his first meal, on that first day, he realised I was a force of some sort. Over the first couple of days he immediately settled in to being a house dog, no messy problems, keeping to the floor and getting more at ease with me. Going for walks he stayed in the perfect heel position, head at the side of my leg, and soon started to stay and intermittently heel to command. Basically very mellow would sum him up. But then for the last couple of days, the second half of week one, he's gained some individuality, shown some emotion, gained some roots for this new life style and, of course, started testing his boundaries a wee bit. The first sign was showing some recognition for me which has progressed to checking up on where I am to, once he realised sofa's are rather comfy, getting up and lying down next to me. Though he's off in a few minutes as floors are preferable being cooler. Other little signs are "Moi, I'm doing nothing", as he's walking out the door with the new bog roll in his mouth, or my flip flop is not by the back door where it lives, but on the sitting room carpet. And then I could only be impressed when having left his dinner in a sealed plastic container I came home to find he'd obviously got his front paws up on the work surface, levered the lid off, picked the rim of the bowl up with his teeth, placed it on the floor and self serviced!
Then a couple of nights ago we had the Romeo visitation which inevitably had to take place one day and sooner more likely than not, as Romeo is the leader of the local pack and needs to check up on new comers to our corner of the sugar estate. So up and over the five foot wall and there he was, after dark, outside the kitchen door just as Max comes meandering through. Max stopped dead still at the door and just looked, then Romeo growled and voom Max lunged. Romeo was bowled over, but Max wasn't done as he just followed up with no hesitation. By the time I'd got my flip flops on to cross the gravel Max had shown Romeo that this was not his patch and that Max was not a dog to be growled at on home turf. And Romeo was hurdling the garden wall. Well, fair play I reckon as long as it doesn't happen outside our territory and, thankfully, no signs of that as yet.
Trainer Louise & son Ramesh
But the other side of the story is so much is still new to him. Up my track is the main road and Max had only come across the occasional vehicle before arriving here, so was getting really skittish going out for a walk, to the stage of sitting down in protest. But then trainer Louise and son Ramesh arrived yesterday morning for second session and had him straight out on the road and walking down towards town. Main tactic was just ignoring him and if he stopped just gently tugging him back to heel again and walking on. Fifteen minutes later and we're outside the mighty Winners, our main small town supermarket, with cars turning in and out, street vendors selling Puri Bhagi, Barfi, whatever, and all sorts of sights and sounds. But by then Max was being really cool. As he was when I took him back in to town this morning. Break through. I've never really come across dog trainer's in work mode before but I'm well impressed with how these guys so easily overcame what had become a wee bit of a dilemma for me. Even if they do look like Mauritian special forces.

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