There I was, out walking with three canines on the lead, each wanting to go his own way. I gave the command, ‘Focus!’ I’d love to tell you that all three pairs of eyes were instantly on me, and three little bodies were ready to respond to the next instruction. That wouldn’t be quite true, but I did get their attention. Perfect obedience is unlikely to be achieved with my current crew of rescues, all of whom are either old and creaky or have chronic health problems. Or both.
I did have a lovely well-trained dog, Harry, with whom I attended the local obedience training club for four years. Some of you will know that I lost Harry under particularly traumatic circumstances about three months ago. Focus was a command I used to get his eyes back on me when he was distracted by an irresistible smell or an ambulance siren in the distance or a magpie up in the trees. Or he might have slipped into the ‘vague zone’ – dogs do sometimes get tired or bored with training and simply tune out. Focus is a particularly handy reminder for a short-legged dog, who has to look a long way up to maintain eye contact with his handler. It’s not such a stretch for border collies.
What has all this to do with writing, you ask? [Read more…]