I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front, mainly because friends from Chichester have been visiting and the intensity of the female interaction (mainly nattering) has put dog observation down the list. But they are now long gone and focus is back on our Dora.
She continues to delight and has also shown some interesting foibles. When my guests first arrived and were being shown to their rooms etc, I suddenly discovered that after weeks of showing no inclination whatsoever to explore upstairs, there she was upstairs with the rest of them and making a beeline for a guest bed and then our bed. Since then, if it’s not suitable weather for her outside places, then she likes to take herself off to our bed – on the pillows where Dobson usually sleeps at night.
Another foible is that generally she prefers her own company for a snooze and has not attempted to come and sit with us on the sofa in the evenings. She can be found in diverse places: the raised vegetable bed (putting paid to any expectations of mine that we might have beetroot to harvest later in the summer), across the stones at the back gate, on my recliner chair on the patio, or on the cats’ bean bag. She seems to like variation. At night she retreats into her crate, preferring this to the sofas (good girl, Dora). Both dogs are extremely interested in any food preparation in the kitchen; Dora on hind legs often investigating what lies on the work surface. Have to watch that. Her manners around her food time/bowl, however, are impeccable but she’s a greedy girl and will go to search out Dobby’s if she’s wolfed hers down first. However, touch wood, there has been no food guarding and both dogs accept treats together without a problem, yet….
The excitement that is created by unhooking her harness and lead from the understairs door knows no bounds: she slithers around on the bamboo floor, bounces into things, rushes to the front door and then starts the whole process again until eventually we get outside for the walk.
Her outdoor behaviour is generally good but in true “gun dog” fashion, she weaves from side to side finding scents and this is in need of modifying if I or Jon are not to trip over. If there are no rabbits around or we are somewhere without scents, she lollops along beside us with little interest in what’s around her. On the beach this evening, I could almost hear her saying to me “this is a bit bland, and no, I am not over keen on the waves or swimming. Look over there at the dunes, there are millions of rabbit smells I could find up there”. She meekly greets every dog that shows interest, only having given a warning growl to one persistent bottom sniffer. She tries to greet Dobby but he’s a bit wary and doesnt want to show his feelings yet, it seems.
What I now need to do is start in earnest on recall training – with a long line. Once she has the scent of a rabbit, she is completely disinterested in any titbit (even liver) and when she decides to run, she is strong and difficult to pull back. My anxiety is going down steps or downhill if she is in this mode as I do not want to be pulled over. Think I need some words of wisdom from Nick Benger here or I need to find someone who will spend an hour or two on reassuring/training.
Three and a half weeks of loveable, clumsy, quirky, nervous, funny, adorable Dora.
Gracias to the bastard who didn’t love her enough to take care of her in Spain. Your loss is our gain.
And as ever, huge admiration and thanks to Colleen and Julie (Paradise Kennels and El Arca Animal Sanctuary) for their amazing work to ensure dogs like Dora end up in forever homes.