Dear pet owners, can you help? My Yorkie won't wear a leash, play fetch or discuss 1970s' fashion – Susan Morrison
To quote Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t bad. Well, 2.5 really. There is a beach, there is the sea and, as Scots like to say, we were lucky with the weather, which means it didn’t rain that much and the wind was mainly just below force 10.
We didn’t care. We’d packed sunscreen and anoraks.
We also packed walking shoes. During the recent Unpleasantness, I took it upon myself to ensure that my Yorkshire husband received sufficient daily exercise according to breed, weight and age.
I approached this scientifically. If you look up “how much exercise does a dachshund need?”, you'll get a swift answer. It’s about an hour, since you ask. Sadly, there’s no exact figure for post-60 Yorkshiremen, but I based it on a labrador and got 80 minutes.
The guidelines were very helpful. They suggested “good quality interaction”, “fun activities, like throwing sticks or balls” and a “plentiful supply of treats”. There was mention of “lots of praise”, but I thought that a step too far.
Obviously, he’s not on a leash. That's quite a different activity and one I leave to Tory MPs and people who frequent strange clubs in Manchester.
The quality interaction bit is relatively straightforward. I talk, he listens. Well, what I mean is, he doesn’t say anything. He used to ask me questions about something I said earlier in the day. I took that as a sign.
Clearly, he’d been digesting that morsel of information until he felt ready to glean more of my insights, but then I realised he had effectively shut down his hearing in the intervening hours, and thus had missed my analysis of 1970s’ fashion trends. The man has a true gift for selective deafness.
The fun activities were a complete waste of time. I threw a stick on the beach. He asked me why I had thrown the stick. "Would he prefer it if I chucked a ball to chase?” I said.
He looked around “Who are you talking to?”
“You,” I said, “fun activity on a walk. Chasing a stick.”
‘Have you been drinking?’ he asked.
Technically, that passed for quality interaction, so I shoved a fun-sized Milky Way in his gob as a treat and said “Good boy!” I know, I gave in over the praise thing.
He has one fun activity that he pursues with a passion. The man loves a bench, and when we find that bench, it must be tested. Benchmarked, if you will.
It must be walked around, examined. If we are lucky, there will be a wee plaque with a poignant message to “Larry, who did the tango” or to Elsie, who “loved this view”. Never got the chance to see Larry tango, but Elsie had great taste in views.
We must sit on the bench. Well, he does. I view them with suspicion. They look far too inviting for bugs that can bite, and that’s before we get onto the matter of damp rot. Who wants that in your gusset?
Wood, metal, concrete, he’s got opinions about all of them, and will expound for hours. At least, I think he does. I gave up listening ages ago. At least a labrador would chase a stick…