Dog trains man

Monday, January 23, 2017

Don't Be A Stranger

The windchill of a strong breeze instantly dropped the temperature even further below zero. The sun composed a scenery worthy of a beautiful day in Summer and only the freezing cold reminded me we were in the heart of Winter.
The beach was empty. Few tourists visit the West-coast out of season. The ones that are would probably stay inside today, enjoying the warmth of a fire-place, maybe reading a book, making an effort to discover and experience Danish "hygge".

I know Tilde good enough to predict she would be ambivalent to find the beach empty. Although she loves her beach trips and won't let me get away without at least one trip each day. When I try to convince her to take another walk she would refuse if she hasn't been to the beach that day. She would pull me to the car, in an effort to convey her need for sand and salt. Today she would be ambivalent though, as she likes to enjoy all her beach activities and one of them would be missing. Meeting people.

It is still something I have to get used to. To have a Hovawart that likes strangers. A Hovawart that likes to meet new people and interact with them. Even after last week when she showed me for the first time she was a Hovawart after all, when she defended me from the approaching hunter, she hasn't lost any of her social appetite. I still have to adjust. It has become my sixth sense to always be on the look-out to keep them safe. No doubt after Viva who I had to protect from her fears, but definitely also after Kenzo. When he was young and I was ignorant about everything dog, I did throw him under the bus a couple of times unintentionally. Even though I should relax more with Tilde, that sixth sense refuses to leave.

We spotted a couple of dots on the horizon. The dots were getting bigger and I could see it was a group of four, walking along the shoreline towards us. I moved to a path that would follow the middle of the beach and instinctively tried to distinguish the shapes for what might be kids or elderly people in the group of four. I knew Tilde would walk over to them now she hadn't met any people the whole day. Nothing bad was about to happen, her days of jumping and mouthing strangers are as good as over, but I couldn't help myself. In my mind she was already knocking over a youngster or a pensionado.

The group of four slowly came closer. They were looking down, strolling at the shoreline, and no doubt were searching for that one unique pebble they could take home as a souvenir. Tilde moved down to the shoreline too, as if she was casually sniffing for crabs, a cover-up for her intention to move herself in the direct path of the group. I still walked in the middle of the beach, watching carefully for any reaction from the group, ready to recall Tilde.

The group was now just steps away from Tilde, who interrupted her sniffing, looked up at the group with a relaxed smile on her face, as if she was saying "Hi there! I didn't see you were here!". The actress. I have witnessed the strategy she developed countless times before. She would just stand there with that smile, hoping to get it returned and invited to come closer. Her prize would be to wiggle through some legs and receive a touch.

The first two pretended not to notice her while walking by and Tilde now found herself in the middle of the group. One of the last two that closed the group looked at Tilde who immediately smiled back at her but the woman quickly looked the other way. Too bad. Soon Tilde was left behind, while she still looked at the group with that inviting smile on her face for if maybe one of them might regret and come back.

They didn't. She looked back at me now, gave the group one more eye-ball and came running back to me. She smiled and ran through my legs to shower herself in "Good girl"'s. I knew she had enjoyed the encounter nonetheless. It would have been better if she could have made a new people friend, but she enjoyed trying just as well. Maybe next time would be a success again. My sixth sense made a sigh of relief and the three of us continued down the beach, on the lookout for new dots on the horizon.


  1. Ach! Shame on them! A beautiful dog like Tilde! I bet they didn't shout hello to you either. Modern manners - bah!


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