Meet Charley. Charley’s mostly collie, a little bit something else. Possibly beagle, possibly Tasmanian Devil (well that’s Joanne Hall‘s theory).
Charley came into my life in April, and took over. This was a dog who, at nine months old, couldn’t walk on a lead, had no training except ‘sit’ and ‘shake’, who bit when scolded, climbed on tables, stole food, had a panic attack at the sight and sound of any normal household activity, nipped and mouthed continually, systematically destroyed things in front of you to get your attention, barked hysterically at strangers, and widdled on the carpet. He was also, underneath it all, clearly a friendly, outgoing dog with ridiculous smarts.
So for the past few months I’ve spent my days managing the dog, training Charley being more of a way of life than a discrete activity. I’ve learned a lot about dog psychology, or at least a lot about what people think about dog psychology. There’s a huge noise-to-signal problem with dog training advice, and a lot of people out there ferociously attached to various methods almost none of which are supported by any evidence, or even sensible theories. We muddle through as best we can, and to be honest it’s been tough. Two broken fingers, one visit from the dog warden, and plenty of tears. All the way through this process I’ve been thinking I should be blogging about it, because it’s been a hell of a journey, but the website has been malfunctioning and just surviving Charley has kept me too busy to think about it, much less fix it. But we’ve reached a point where he can let me sit at the laptop for half an hour without biting my feet or eating the nearest hardback, and BristolCon is over, and I’ve fixed the website, so maybe now I’ll write more…
I’ve managed to do almost nothing else but Charley-wrangle since April, but there have been one or two things, about which separate blog posts will follow. Promise.