You can teach an old dog new tricks

Spring has finally started in the mountains and as well the usual signs of new life, like the bluebells, daffodils and crocus’ emerging, trees budding, butterflies and bees getting active and birds calling for mates, our dog, Jakal disappeared for 2 days. We could hear him barking higher up in the village and we called but he didn’t come for his dinner. Lee guessed his distraction and was confirmed when we heard a bitch was on heat and he was hounding her. As we’d been planning on collaring him, now was a good time…

He’s been living free for 5 years since he turned up as a puppy, completely untrained but glad of a home. In the early days of renovating our Melanya guesthouse, we were regularly going back and forth to the UK and no training needed, he took it upon himself to guard our land from the free roaming cows and donkeys and assumed the role even when we weren’t here. Our neighbours fed him for us but he continued to ‘live the life of Riley’. Luckily he’s grown into a very well mannered gentleman but after we emigrated and moved in fully, he developed a habit of chasing passing cars. Luckily very few come to our sprawling village but the mayor, who lives at the highest point, often drives past for a coffee and chat with our neighbour who lives at the lowest point. So he was becoming increasingly annoying to drivers and we had visions of him getting run over.

Jakal also loves going for walks and although, so far, all our guests on mountain walking holidays have not minded his company, we are aware not everyone will want him tagging along. So we bought him a collar, fastened it on him and he took to it like he’s always worn one. A complete surprise to us both but unfortunately it was too big so removed and when next in town, bought him a more suitable size but hadn’t got round to putting the new one on. That evening Lee went to look for him, armed with collar, leash and some dog biscuits and Jakal’s hunger won out. Before he realised it the collar was on and he was coaxed away from harassing his girlfriend and the poor girl looked very thankful. As expected he barked and whined most of the night but in the morning I took him for a walk in the opposite direction from where she lived.

Whenever I’d gone for an independent walk before he had stayed close by on the tracks, so being on a lead didn’t phase him and he didn’t complain or pull, only stopping to water the oaks. When we got to the edge of a forest walk, I unclipped the leash and he continued to stay close until something in the trees caught his eye and he tanked off following the scent of deer. Occasionally I saw the flash of a white tail and a magnificent animal leaping though the trees but thankfully he’s never been fast enough. It’s good exercise for him and he always catches me up panting heavily with his tongue hanging out. When I head for home I think he’s had enough so doesn’t mind the leash going back on. It’s cheaper than castration and I’m sure if he could talk he would prefer this remedy as he knows he’ll get a good fuss, a big feed and a chance to sleep off the day’s excursion. Every morning he accompanies me as usual, currently clearing the tracks of the yearly post winter fallen trees and branches as I map out the hundreds of walks around Melanya, and everyday he shows me he’s a very clever dog ☺



One Comment Add yours

  1. Jakel looks so adorable in that photo, looking forward to going walkies with him, i know he wont pull like our tank Willow!

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