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Amanda Elsdon-Dew
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Joined: 10 Sep 2014
Posts: 411
Location: Ockley,

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:07 am Reply with quoteBack to top

We have an expression in our family: to be 'Briardlike' means to like the familiar old things and not to like change. We used to think that it was just Brion who was so exceptionally unenthusiastic about anything the slightest bit new or different but Dinah is now mellowing (well, sort of anyway) in her middle age and my husband and I have two different walks, each our favourite for taking Dinah on. Mark's is up a long private road with lots of verges and sniffs either side, and he takes Dinah on this on her long lead. Mine is into our beloved woods, where I just let her loose in a particular section where only she and I go at that time, normally. On Mark's walk, they amble and sniff their way to the furthest extent, when he turns round (too muddy for his liking thereafter), whereupon Dinah apparently always stops and makes him wait while she selects the biggest stick she can find, which she will then carry for the entire way back to the main road, about a mile. then she stops again and leaves it tidily by the park gate there, and trots happily home without it. I always let her off her lead at the same point, and I suppose I always do the same thing myself: I wait until she is sitting and looking calmly at me, then say 'go free', and off she goes like a rocket, flies the stream, hurtles up the steep hill beyond and all round the bowl-shaped land through which I am slowly following. Once I have, slowly and carefully, cleared the stream, she reappears and looks expectantly for her treat, which she gets. On we go , either up the steep side of the bowl, when she stays close, waiting to be put back on the lead (pastureland next and at the far end what is now known to us as Cat Copse, after not Dinah's finest moment) or we keep low and I trudge slowly along a path that leads into the heart of the wood. That, Dinah seems to have decided, needs enlivening and I need a bit of training there. She never fails to find a huge stick here, which I am invited to pull with her, and then to follow as she very skillfully swings it through the narrow tree-lined paths. Then a junction. Will we turn left or right here? She watches and, again, she has her routines for either: one copse she likes to hurtle through, or she accelerates at very high speed down a twisty path. Then back for another treat. . . It really is very predictable, and very sweet we find - so long as no strange dog - fortunately very very rarely - appears unexpectedly. . . That, I am afraid, will be seen off and the minute it has turned tail she will come back to me with a 'sorted out that problem, Mistress' look. If, however, I walk with a friend and their dog, that is perfectly acceptable even if she has never met that dog before. That dog seems to be automatically 'family' on 'her' land (wish that it were really ours) and Dinah will include it quite happily in her walk,, sharing titbits, sniffing alongside.
Oh, and to finish where I started with accounts of Di and sticks, if I have taken the pastureland route, when I let her off again once we are past Cat Copse and Stranger Corner (where a footpath comes in out of my sight and the scene of nearly all of my regrettable incidents with unexpected dogs) that route leads us back into the woodland, and Another Huge Stick, which is always picked up as we turn to head home!

Brion's Mrs
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