Puppy training classes for the Artful Dodger in our house

Dog treats

Dog treats

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There have been a number of regrettable incidents which needed addressing as a matter of urgency.

Firstly there was the theft and chewing of a pair of expensive adidas trainers; then the steadfast refusal to get off the sofa as me, the boss and our daughters shouted “Off! Off! Off!” at him like we were standing on a football terrace baying for a red card, while the puppy just sat there and stared us out.

But the final straw came when, while out for one of his daily long walks, Walter the five-month-old saluki/whippet cross nibbled at a floral tribute placed on a park bench.

There have been other crimes, too. Last week, while another dog owner was picking up and bagging her pet’s little present, she took off her gloves, put them on the floor and Walter picked one up and ran off with it.

Then on Saturday morning just before a big run at Williamson Park which had its routes coned off, Walter helped himself to a cone and did a runner.

The trouble is that he’s fast, a thief and he’s cute. A bit like the Artful Dodger in Oliver!

He’s 50 yards away before you know what he’s done. As one of the joggers remarked as our puppy sprinted off with his swag at roughly 40mph, “I wish I could run that fast.”

So there was only one thing for it, we had him put down.

Only kidding, I took him to puppy training classes. Deary me, some of you have got no sense of humour.

During his first lesson in a church hall with roughly a dozen other puppies he learnt to come to his name and to sit. Not bad for half an hour’s work.

Everything he did was rewarded with a treat, which was fine until he sniffed out a big block of cheese a lady had in her handbag as a treat for another dog.

You’ve no idea how much he loves cheese. His behaviour once he got a whiff of that was akin to a police cadaver dog when they get the scent of a decomposing corpse.

At the time of writing he’s got five more lessons to go.

Judging by his progress so far, by the end of the course we’re expecting him to be able to read.