We can learn so much from animals, if we choose to ‘see’ the good in them

Here is our Border cross Lakeland terrier, a breed not known for its trainability (not sure that’s a word… Denny; I need you again!).

One thing he is great at is displaying daily his enthusiasm for life. He never gets out of bed on the wrong side, he never carries a grudge, he doesn’t take anything out on a third party because he’s having a bad day (and had to watch that cat saunter past his kennel yet couldn’t get his claws on it).

‘Rock’ is totally accepting of the hand that life has dealt him. As dog’s lives go, this a pretty good one. He is walked twice a day around farmland he’s only ever known having arrived as a 9-week old black ball of fluff.

Man of the Woods had been begging me to spend most of my waking hours in his tractor cab to keep him company, but I had stuff to do! It had been four years since he’d said goodbye to his previous terrier and not one to rush out and replace a pet, MoW had waited. Now was the time.

He soon put his trust in his new family and fast became the one-man dog they all prefer to be.

I even had to start sharing the space in the tractor cab with Rock 🤣

I know many dog owners keep their dogs inside their homes and some can’t accept that other dogs are kept outside. Now I’m not here to judge – you know that’s not my style. Mother has an indoor dog who shares the sofa with her, its coat with the carpet and tramps all the grit and goodness knows what from his paws into their home and onto their furniture.

Rock has a south-facing large run, at the back of which is a cozy kennel box in which he curls up and dreams of rabbits and whatever else his keen nose can sense on the breeze.

He doesn’t have to ask to be let out to do what comes naturally; his kennel is cleaned out daily. He relaxes when inside his run, stretched out asleep in the sun and sometimes on top of his box.

He is nurtured and loved, enjoyed by all the family. He’s a working, instinctive hunting dog and loves being taken to the old straw bales in the yard where he can sniff out and chase an occasional rat which has yet to locate the safely-hidden poison at strategic spots around the yard.

Rock is bold. No-one ever told him his self esteem needed locating and encouraging. He’ll hold his own in a crowd!

Rock knows his place. He’s not the head of this family. He’s the dog. He doesn’t share our sofas, as mother’s dog is encouraged to do. He’s not forcing his snout out of the front door before we can even open it and the first to receive guests, as mother’s dog is allowed to do (and then told off for being over-excited at the guest). He is not fed first to quiet him down.

Rock is fed when MoW is ready to feed him, and that can vary by up to two or three hours. The routine is not set in concrete and hence Rock knows tea will come but doesn’t start cadging at the sight of human food, as mother’s does.

Rock is patient, respectful, quiet – until he smells footpath walkers making their way through the farmyard, then he makes his presence heard for a few seconds. He is the best guard dog!

Happy 3rd Birthday Rock!

PS .. I have many friends with wonderfully house-trained dogs who are part of their family but do not run rings around them. I fear my mother’s dog’s exhibited behaviour says more about mother than the dog.