Reading back, it is a bit sad to see how fast
the years are passing. Telfer changes little but grows more complacent and
trusting with other dogs. He used to be a bit unsure of some dogs and have
quick sudden confrontations.
Trust a cat to get comfortable
Zippy is still boss and seems to enjoy imposing his
will. One January evening the family were watching TV and Telfer was curled up
contentedly at my wife's feet. Three times in less than an hour Zippy walked up
to him and moved him by just sitting down very close or sniffing him. What a
bully that cat is!
One of Telfer's favourite
Zippy is half-siamese and has the awful
howl of that species. In his recent year he is getting grumpy and howling more
and more. He is also getting very fussy over his food and howls if it is not
his chioce of the day or if he is hungry, or even if he is lonely which happens
every night. Each time he howls louder and louder as if in a real temper.
In an attempt to shut him up if he doesn't respond to a shout we keep a
small water spray, as used for freshening up plants, and a quick squirt in his
direction is usually enough to stop him.
Telfer hates him howling .
The water squirter has produced a new bizarre game for Telfer which we
do not understand. If we place it on the floor Telfer goes into very slow
motion and approaches it very warily, then "freezing" before moving backwards
just as slowly. Naturally we have to give a few squirts, not at him but in his
direction. Backwards and forwards he goes for about 20 minutes or until we are
fed up and take the water away. His concentration on the squirter is intense
and he snaps at any squirts which are close enough.
For years, every
evening just after we have eaten has become game time for Telfer and a
favourite ball or rubber ring is dropped on someone's lap to be thrown or
pulled. But now the new squirter game has taken his fancy. He chooses! He
stares at the squirter but if we throw his ball to him he ignores that or
nudges it away. He wants the squirter.
On his walks the same old games dominate. Telfer
still chooses to race away on a different route to me but always waits to be
told when to go. He has changed the game slightly and sometimes doesn't now
leap out ahead of me but instead pauses 10 yards or so from the path I am on.
As I draw level off he goes again racing away through the bracken and then
waiting and watching once more amongst the trees.
Sticks are still his favourite game. what is is
about sticks? Deep in his wolf-pack instincts I suppose a stick represents a
piece of meat snatched from a dead prey which he runs off with and guards
against his brothers. That might explain why he likes the big ones and will
often swap when he sees a bigger stick.
For Telfer size DOES matter with his
Some of Telfer's actions definitely can be seen
to come from the wolf-pack behaviour. He found me one morning doing exercises
on my knees and approached me to say "Hello" with his head stretched forward
and teeth bared slightly, not in attack but in the wolf greeting...an action
often seen in TV documentaries. Unfortunately before I could re-act he licked
my face !
Successful dog trainers utilise the wolf-pack
instincts of course. By leading the puppy in the "rules" of the pack which are
instinctive to it the trainer soon teaches it what he .she wants it to do. One
rule always insisted on is that the pack leaders eat 1st, so Telfer has to eat
last. The pack leader has the best (highest) place to lie so Telfer is always
on the floor. By following such rules Telfer has developd into an extremely
well-mannered dog who obeys my wishes without question. A real firm "Command"
is rarely necessary and even a whisper is often enough.