Sunday, 12 July 2009

Back with a Bing

Previously on Bingley’s Blog
‘Get in the car, Bingley’ No
‘Come on, Bing, be a dear and jump up’ Don’t wanna
‘Look Bingley, you’re being daft, now get in’ Shan’t

That, I realise, is how we left things a month ago – a month which has, for Bingley, included thorns in paws, a nasty sting to the neck, a horrible flair-up of his allergies, and a couple of visits to the vet.

The summer should be a time of fun, with long sultry days to play around in and cool evenings to go on long walks. But sharing a house with a dog who’s allergic to grass pollen and who is determined to plunge his entire body into areas best left un-plunged, has its penalties.

Living with Bingley continues to be a source of joy and amazement, but living with the frustration of those allergies is exhausting for all of us. Needless to say, the monthly inoculations haven’t made any difference yet (though I have become much better at administering those jabs) but the saga of Bingley and the car is quite a different story.

A month ago we couldn’t get him to climb into the car, now we can’t keep him out!

How did we manage it? Well, it involved lots of patience and lots of cheese! Bingley, it turns out, will do anything for a cracking bit of Wensleydale! In fact he’s had so much cheese recently that I’m getting worried about his cholesterol levels; and it’s lucky that he’s such a skinny bean because otherwise by this stage I think he’d be too heavy to jump up at all.

That initial jump up took ages to achieve, but after he’d done it once (and that was so thrilling!) there was no stopping him. For the first few days he wouldn’t hang around in his bit of the car: instead he'd jump into the back, find the cheese and leap back out again. But as his confidence grew he began to spend more time actually in the car and was happy to play with me in the back. I was even able to start including the boot of the car as one of our hiding places during our regular games of hide and seek – and he’d happily jump in when no-one was there.

The next stage was to get him to do sit-stays in the back of the car. Not surprisingly the first few attempts at that ended in failure and he couldn’t resist the temptation of jumping out to see where I was going. But that one didn’t take long to sort and after a handful of sessions I was able to walk all the way through the house to hide the cheese, without finding him padding along behind me (thank goodness for clicker training!).

As I mentioned, at this point in time we’re having difficulty keeping him out of the car, and he's tried to join me in the driving seat on more than one occasion! We’ve even been able to go as far as shutting him in the back – though as yet he’ll only let me close the door if Jane’s sitting alongside him!

But, frustratingly, that’s as far as we’ve come so far. If it hadn’t been for illness and allergies I really do think that by now we’d be out and about. Nevertheless, patience has been a key factor since the beginning of this episode and I’m certain that it won’t be much longer before we’re all driving out together in the Cheesemobile.

So, dare I say it again? Here we are almost at the beginning of a new series of adventures! But knowing Bingley all I can say for sure is – watch this space!

Saturday, 11 July 2009