Chester – 4 – pack leader

I’ve so many stories of Chester, they’re tumbling about in my mind, wanting to be told.  And I’m going to be away for a few days from Wednesday, so there will probably be a hiatus.  Still, here’s one about Chester testing me to find out who was boss.

You’re not wondering, are you?  Come on, who do you think?

Once he had learned the boundaries, he generally stuck to them and rarely ventured near the road.  Of course, like all dogs, he loved to be taken for a walk and if he saw one of us going out on foot he ran along, hoping to be taken too.  And if it was convenient, I’d pick up his lead in the porch and, when he appeared, take him with me.  However, if it wasn’t then he was expected to go back home.  He found this quite hard to accept.  But he did learn to stay to my command and, although sometimes he’d give up and go back to the house, quite often I’d return to find him lying at the fork in the drive, waiting for me.

My mother walked to the village shop every day with her dog, and of course Chester wanted to go too. But he was crafty.  If he appeared when she was still in the drive, she would bring him back (my mother lived in the granny annexe next door to us) and shut him in our house.  So he waited until she had gone with Bruce, her black labrador cross, round the corner and he judged that she wouldn’t want to turn back, and then appear at her side.  She often used to complain about this, but it was only if she came and told me that she was going out that I could call Chester in to the house.  And he didn’t get away with it with me, anyway.

Even so, once in a while he had a go.  He’d suddenly appear, bouncing up to me with tail wagging, joy in his face.  But I’m hard, darlings, damn hard.  I’d take him back to the garden gate (the drive is some 100 yards long) and tell him to go home.  His ears would drop, his tail droop and he’d trail along, looking back every few yards, and I’d just point.  When he got to the fork, I’d tell him to stay and start walking again.  Then I’d nip back to see if he was still there (I made sure he didn’t see me) and, if he was sneaking down the drive again I’d reappear to point sternly.

The thing was, if I’d once relented then my job would have become way harder, so I never did.  If I was going to take him, I’d say at once, otherwise I’d not give in.  And so, though he did keep testing me for some years, he did accept that I was the leader of the pack.

Tomorrow, Chester and the sheep.  

5 comments on “Chester – 4 – pack leader

  1. dinahmow

    Too many people don’t understand this.And I wouldn’t call you “hard.” Just sticking to a rule you have already set.Much better than resorting to a riding crop.

  2. georgie

    Old dog will be 15 next month. She has been testing me since she was a puppy. It is very difficult to be firm with a dog that can think up many ways to get his/her way. I admire your consistentcy in discipling Chester.

  3. Z

    I was mostly quite indulgent, in fact. But I’m quite hot on self-discipline, he had to learn to stay when he didn’t want to, if I told him to.

    Poodles are so intelligent, Georgie, you have to be one jump ahead!

  4. mig

    It’s the self discipline of the owner that often fails in dog training. I definitely don’t have enough of it, we were lucky that Nutmeg came more or less well behaved and house trained.


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