By the time I got Jacques, I knew I would have what by California standards is a large garden, plus a couple of barns, AKA rat havens. I believe that dogs need jobs. Whatever they were bred to do, they should be trained to do. So, perfect, Westies are great at killing little rodents. Surely I could just turn him loose and instinct would drive him to catch the little critters and break their disease-carrying necks.
Westies are lively and sociable. He would need exercise, as do I. So why not play with him a little? There is a local agility training group. Blessedly, it has not been taken over by those crazed, OCD border collies. Those dogs are maniacs. They win every time but for the rest of us, when they walk in, the fun walks out. There is still plenty of fun in that agility group, along with every kind of dog imaginable. If we did agility, Jacques could play and socialize. Plus, we could practice at home. Plenty of space, after all.
Apparently Jacques sees things a little differently. Okay, a lot differently. He watches TV. Dog TV is his favorite channel, followed closely by Animal Planet. He knows the tunes for the pet food ads and runs to the set when he hears them. When he sees a dog or cat — he is so over the big game on, say, Nat Geo — he grabs a nearby rug, dog bed, whatever, and thrashes it around. It looks for all the world as if he is wringing its neck. If I get some good video footage, I’ll update this post. Meantime if the barns have rats, they lead untroubled lives. The only little critters Jacques brings in long ago died natural deaths.
And the agility? Hohoho. So far, no way. I thought I would start with weave poles. The first step is to space rhem way far apart: see above. Then you put your dog on a leash and walk through with him. Over time the poles get closer together and the dog goes off-lead and weaves through on his own.
Except, well, no. Jacques isn’t going for it. He sat on the back porch and watched me position the poles. I got out the leash. I could see the look on his little canine face. Leash, back garden, does not compute. I tried to be cheerful. Look, weave poles, what fun! No. Jacques, who loves city walks, was not going to be walked around his own back garden. Was it the terrain? Maybe it was a little rocky there? Jacques went back to the stair landing and watched me reposition the poles. I pulled out the leash. Look, fun! Jacques stood up, turned around and went into the house.
Agility will have to wait for another day.