Saturday, October 28, 2006


Today I feel like killing my dog, but I'm hoping that when I've written this piece the urge will have left me.

When we got our boat and moved aboard, I decided to buy a bike. How lovely, I thought,(cue, the theme tune from Lassie playing in the background) to ride down the canal towpath with my faithful border collie Kali skipping joyously ahead, the two of us getting lots of healthy exercise and fresh air. Listening to the birds sing, stopping to feed the ducks and drinking in the quiet of the countryside.

Well, in between fags that is; me, not the dog. Mind you she is so intelligent I wouldn't be surprised to find her rolling me a cig and offering me a light. She has more sense than to smoke it though, unlike her owner.

Kali is trained to drop to the floor at the side of the road at the merest hint of a car coming, and this she does with unfailing consistency, and the same behaviour occurs when someone comes along on a bike. Wonderful, I never have to worry about her getting run over and very rarely, if ever, use a lead.

So when I got the bike I had a niggling worry that she would lie down and refuse to move. No such luck.

The first time I got on the bike she attacked it. She bites the front tyre and barks and growls, but only when it's moving. Have you any idea how embarrassing it is riding down the towpath while other like minded people are riding along with their dogs trotting along side while yours is doing her best to cripple you for life, never mind disturbing the peace of the countryside. She isn't afraid of it, it's just a great game.

Shouting, waving my arms, screaming, yelling "NO"(well it usually works) does no good at all apart from making me look like a tit, and as noisy and badly behaved as the dog. I did persist on several occasions hoping she would get the message, but when I get on my bike it's just too exciting for words.

I have never hit my dog. I trained her with patience and kindness and it pays off in spades. I believe there is no such thing as a badly behaved dog, that's down to the owner.

I will not give in, this problem must be solved. So, what to do? Aversion therapy. I decided to buy a water pistol and squirt her in the face every time she tried to bite the tyre. Water pistols only come in bright colours, mine in fluorescent pink and green. £3.99 from Woolworths, in case your interested. I've never used it. I cannot bring myself to go out in public as a middle aged woman brandishing a weapon that is pink and green and using it on a dog. Can you imagine it, I would be the talk of the towpath. I like to keep a low profile thank you. It keeps me out of trouble. Why can't they make them in nice muted grown up colours?

So I gave up for a while, until today. I had forgotten the humiliation and besides I want to ride my bike with the dog with me, and I will not be beaten.

As soon as I unchained it she started. Verbal chastisement from me and him indoors didn't work. So I rode round in circles while he kept the dog quiet and told her off every time she got the gleam in her eye and started to move. She calmed down. So like a fool I decided to carry on and off we went. Down the road, no problem, she's more concerned about the risk of a car coming. I relapsed into a foolish complacency and grinning like a Cheshire cat ploughed on to the tow path, determined to enjoy it.

She picked up a stick as usual and off she went ahead with it. Fantastic, I thought, she's got the message. (Theme from Lassie again). She kept the stick and ran along with the bike. I passed a bloke who said "you want to be careful she doesn't get that stick in the wheel". I smiled and thought "Piss off, do you think I'm that stupid". We sat down at the bridge while I had a cig and admired the scenery - Kali still playing with her stick, me throwing it occasionally.

Time for home. She's still got the stick and is barking at the wheel with it still in her mouth now. Halfway home, she pokes the stick into the spokes of the front wheel and I'm on my back with the bike on top of me, winded and hurting in various places. There I am, like a beached whale, unable to move because my leg and foot were caught up somewhere and the wheel of the bike is stuck in position because half a tree looks like it's growing out of it. A concerned woman appeared and had to extricate me from the bike. "Are you OK?" she says, "Yes" I reply, the liar that I am, thinking murderous thoughts about the dog and wondering if I'll ever walk again.

I wheeled the bike home with a dejected air and a slight limp. Apologies to the bloke, yes I am that stupid after all. Thanks to the woman, I think I would still be lying there tangled up if it wasn't for you.

Back to the drawing board - perhaps I'll bring out the fluorescent water pistol after all. Any ideas anyone?

Kats :0)


Anonymous Lightning said...

What a lovely dog. Hope you've recovered from the spill. Dogs will be dogs I guess. Maybe a ball would do the trick, less likely to have you off the bike.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kats, she needs desensitisation, doesn't she? It's just the novelty of it, I reckon, and the fact that's she's in her puberty right now. Walk her next to the bike, cycle only for a short time in safe areas, until the novelty wears off. And the squirter could do the trick, just you want to do that in a safe place with no cars as well, since you don't want her to run off under a car. She could get more excited from the water, though.
She's a cutie, whatever you decide to do!

5:22 PM  
Blogger kats said...

Lightening - the bruises are fading.

whoeveryouare: thanks for the sensible advice - but why are you anonymous?

8:21 AM  
Blogger Consummate John said...

Hi Kats

Every so often I yearn for a dog. Your last post did two things: (1) rekindled that yearning, and (2) reminded me why I don't have a dog.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Kim Ayres said...

Here are some recipes...

8:40 AM  
Blogger kats said...

oh yuk Kim!

9:44 AM  
Anonymous King Billy's favourite said...

Hi Kats, from previously anonymous, no sneaky reason. Just thought you'd have to have a blogger account to not be anonymous. But I see I can choose other, so I'll give myself a name.

12:17 PM  
Blogger kats said...

Well Mr. King Billy, welcome. I'd quite like to read yours if you have one? Url?

8:46 AM  
Blogger Consummate John said...

And thank you for reading my blog. "Coff, Coff?" Yes, you're right. I am a man.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

I wouldn't hold your breath about her rolling a fag, there's the opposable thumbs issue - stumps them every time. But nil desperandum, Pavlov was an abject failure in that department too!

5:28 PM  
Blogger kats said...

Glad to see you back in circulation Gavin

10:39 PM  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Soz Katz.

We English are not very good with bereavement - the celts have got it sewn up!

6:49 PM  

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