Thursday, 6 December 2007

Bing & Jane

November was a long, busy month; cold and dark as well. But before I start getting lugubrious I'll tell you about Jane's adventures with Bingley.

I've been walking Bingley twice a day for the past four months and it's been great fun. However, his seemingly random bouts of timidity were starting to become something of an issue (having your puppy lie down in the middle of the road really isn't great fun) and both Jane and I were concerned about how long this stage was lasting. I say 'this stage' because apparently labs can go through a 'fear stage' at around 8 months. Bingley is only 28 weeks (or only just approaching 7 months, depending on how you look at things!), but he's always been a bit ahead of the stages mentioned in all the development guidelines I've seen....naturally!

In order to eliminate the possibility that I was causing the scaredy-cat moments (unlikely, but you never know..) as well providing a change to our normal routine, Jane has started taking Bingley out for his morning walk before going to work.

And now she won't give it up!

Not surprisingly both Jane & Bingley are absolutely loving these early morning adventures, and although the scaredy-cat is still around occasionally he's not causing anything like the problems we had last month. Does that mean that it was me after all? Or would it have passed anyway? Well, I don't think that the scaredy-cat moments were the result of anything I was doing wrong; and yes, I think that they would have passed anyway. But I also think that Jane's influence has been astonishingly positive, and she and Bing have achieved some significant landmarks together: for starters we can now get him onto the Metro! Granted, he still tummy crawls and needs a bit of firm encouragement - but he gets on ok, and once on board he behaves himself. That's probably partly to do with the fact that he hasn't yet worked out why this strange room vibrates so much. And who are all these people who keep coming and going? Nevertheless, when you think about our first attempt to get him onto the Metro this is a huge advance.

But it doesn't end there. Bingley can now do steps!

We'd already noticed that his back legs were getting stronger because he can now step onto the sofa and arm chairs! Easily. But actually tackling that strange hill was a somewhat different ball game. The first time Jane tried him taking him up the Metro steps he tackled them with a slow sideways zigzag. But now, as with much else, it's as though he's always been doing it. So at last, if we're heading for the Metro we don't have to walk all the way around to the far entrance in order to avoid the steps. Although it's only a few weeks since he wouldn't go anywhere near them, let alone try to climb them: he now heads straight there and trots up. Amazing. Given the importance of the first year in a labrador puppy's bone development we don't want him bounding up and down stairs all day, but in practical terms all this is a huge step forward and means that trips to the beach can once again be part of our weekend. And another big adventure for Bingley.

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