I’m thirteen months old now, and a dog age like that comes with certain responsibilities. Adolescence, or the canine version of the human teenage years doesn’t last long. We only have a couple of months (depending on our breed) in which to revolt and claim our own identity. It is a time when dogs throughout the ages have tested and trialled the limits of their humans patience and perseverance, mostly with positive results.
During these precious months, all dogs are free to choose their own area of interest to explore. Some find that they want to develop their begging skills, others try testing the boundaries and claim their humans bed for the first time or simply escape the garden and discover new territory. Some dogs simply pretend they’ve forgotten all commands they ever learned.
I’ve decided to continue my adolescence with focusing on how to extend my favourite past time – walkies, and in particular to what extent a game of fetch gan be stretched before the humans give up.
1. In theory walkies starts the moment the lead is clipped on and you leave your house. But for the purpose of my experiment I have defined the beginning of a walk as when the lead is clipped off on arrival in the park.
2. In my opinion, the end of walkies should be defined as when the humans decides it is time to go home and they catch you and clip the lead on. The small walk leading back to your house doesn’t count.
Hypotheses to be tested
1. I am faster than the humans.
2. There is unlikely to be any real punishment for not coming when called for.
3. By not coming back when they call my name, there should be an opportunity to extend the walk (and any ongoing game of fetch) to any length that I determine suitable for the day.
I carried out live experiments in various London parks over the past week.
My findings clearly state that yes, I am much faster than the humans. In fact, after they’ve made an initial attempt to catch me on the first day, I could make several runs around them before they eventually managed to trick me back with a toy. My skills grew better with every day. The following days I made sure that after the lead was off, I made no physical contact with the humans whatsoever, in fact, I remained on more than an arms length distanse the whole time.
When called for, I simply turned to circling around them until they in desperation tried to tempt me back with a game of fetch (whilst looking around them to see if anyone had noticed that I was in fact running the show).
This confirmed both my second and third hypotheses that I have control over the amount of time fetch should be played, and there is no punishment for not obeying. I am also in full control of when its time to go home. All in all it was a successful experiment and I feel that I have claimed a new position within the pack – I can now declare myself a free roaming mountain dog, with human servants at my disposal. Life is good!
I only have once concern – I heard the humans talk on the phone with the dog trainer again. They mentioned things like recall training, a ten meter long training lead, and a training session booking for Wednesday. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there!
I’m very curious to hear what other doggies out there did during their adolescence? Share your best ideas, I have time for lots more mischief!