Dog trains man

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Today I turn the blog over to Jan Wolfe about what should have been a textbook display of Tilde managing the "Leave It" command.

Note to self, never go on a weekend with a blogging friend.


It started out as a quiet Saturday afternoon walk in the woodland surrounding our rented cottage at Henne Strand – six humans and three dogs enjoying the warm September weather and each other’s company.  The dogs were sniffing in the undergrowth and reading the various scents as we would read a newspaper.  We humans were chatting about this that and the next thing and enjoying the meeting that we had looked forward to for months.  As we walked, we passed numerous cottages, each of which we admired and passed comment about, and wished that we owned or at least could live in.

All the dogs were on leads: Leo had Kenzo, who, quite frankly, didn’t want to be with anyone else, Dina had Emil, who also wanted no other, and I had Tilde whom I had fallen head over heels in love with.  She is a happy, vibrant and engaging dog, full of life and affection, and it seemed I had made a special connection with her.  All the dogs were behaving beautifully and were relaxed with us all and each other.

The tracks through the woods were many, and it would have been easy to get hopelessly lost, although I think Leo was keeping tabs on our location with his phone GPS.  Whilst walking down one track, we could see a large house further along on the left of a large open area – complete with chickens pecking around in the front garden, and pigs in the field opposite.  An idyllic picture of rural contentment!  As we got closer to the house, we came across a burial chamber of some description on the right.  I hung back wanting to have a look and to read the information board so I turned and asked Leo, who was behind me, to take Tilde whilst I went closer. 

As I was looking at the structure, an exclamation of panic erupted behind me - “F**k!!! Tilde!!!  Here! Take Kenzo!” 

As I turned, Kenzo’s lead was being thrust into my hand as Leo legged it down the track shouting “F**k! Tilde!!!” with shorts flapping and hair flying.

At the house, I could see Tilde land in among the chickens who were startled out of their gentle clucking into a panicked flapping and squawking – similar to the man who was quickly bearing down on the scene.  Tilde stopped as she looked around at the chickens – it seemed she was unsure of what to do next or which chicken to go for.  She looked like a child in a sweet shop.  I thought she might let Leo catch her.  But no!!  She had other ideas.  He was within arm’s length of catching her when she got a wicked gleam in her eye and took off again after the chickens round the lawn and down the side of the house.  Going on the amount of squawking we could hear, and the feathers that were flying, I was sure that she had caught one, and my heart sank.  Having had a “chickengate” not so long ago, I could feel exactly what Leo was going through at that moment.

Next on the scene were the owners of the house who came out to see what the commotion was – they moved with slow deliberation which, to me, translated as a serious case of “not very happy”.  Poor Leo – bad enough when your dog runs after someone’s chickens – much, much worse when the owner of the chickens appears to add to your woes.

I lost sight of Tilde, Leo and chicken-owners  at this stage, and could only see the others watching on helplessly.  But I had my own problems to deal with by now.

Kenzo had lost all signs of the calm regal character he had hitherto displayed and was leaping around on the end of the lead like a crazed jack-in-the-box.  Barking loudly, he jumped and squirmed and pulled with such a force that I momentarily wondered if I would be taking a flying leap into the chickens myself.  I think much of this was anxiety, but I suspect he also wanted a piece of the action.

It went quiet.  Oh heck, I thought, there must be a discussion about how much the chicken was worth, and how dogs should be kept under control.  Moments later, a rather sheepish looking man with recaptured dog emerged from the side of the house with the owners.  Thankfully nobody was carrying a dead chicken.

Leo was immensely apologetic to the owner, who gave it some thought what to say, and while looking around at the scattered chicken feathers, made her final comment, “Shit happens”.

Yup! Chickenshit! we must all have thought, and made it the hell out of Dodge, Tilde in front.



  1. Oh, dear. I'm glad no chickens were harmed in the adventure.

  2. Literally laughing out loud -- at the cursing, at the unruly behavior, at the fact that it is dangerous to hang out with writers... I'm glad it had a happy ending!

    1. On the hanging out with writers part ... I remember we once had a collegue-IT guy over for diner. He thanked us a exuberantly at the end of the evening for our hospitality, and said, "You know, in my former job I was a chef-cook and my wife is a psychologist, how many people do you think, ask us over for diner and conversation?"


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