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Sunday 8 May 2016

Update on Alex, 9th May

Lessons in the orchard, 7th May 2016
Success! If I never teach Alex anything else, I won't worry—he will now do the one thing that's vital here, 365 days a year. He'll stay quiet outside the greenhouses, while I'm working inside. That doesn't sound like much, but his first "puppy frenzy" while he was inside a greenhouse with me sent pots, canes and labels everywhere. From that moment, he was banned until he's old enough to be more sensible.

I shut him outside: he screamed the place down and battered at the door (a cacophony which echoed round the valley horribly at 5am!) until he managed to slide it open wide enough to get his nose in. After that, widening the gap was easy so it was no obstacle. He led down, and pushed his feet against the door to slide it sideways, so I now have to block it.

It took three more visits to the greenhouse for me to teach him that I only take any notice of him when he stays quiet. Feeling like the world's most hard-hearted dog-owner, on the first occasion I ignored him completely while he howled and warbled.

That time, the racket went on for minutes. When he stopped, I went out and made a fuss of him, and handed over plenty of treats.

On our second visit, the noise only carried on for about thirty seconds.

The third time, he sat down outside the house and eventually fell asleep in the shade. That's been the pattern ever since, thank goodness.


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