Fletcher is naughty. There, I’ve said it. I’ve made the excuses for his attention seeking behaviour in the past but this month I have accepted it’s just who he is.
He is not naughty in the sense of aggression or poorly house trained. In fact, far from it. He is the most loving and kindest dog you could hope for, with both humans and other animals. This makes it difficult to tell him off. He steps out of line and all is given when he jumps on my lap and snuggles in. However, it’s his constant need to be centre of attention and determination to only do what Fletcher wants to do, that is securing his place on the naughty list. Give this dog an inch and he’ll take a mile!
He likes his routine, it’s not a bad thing, but if dinner is missed by an hour or his afternoon walk is 10 minutes off schedule, all hell breaks loose. He’ll pester, paw, jump and nudge me until I give in, stop what I am doing, and meet his request.
On a recent trip to Leigh-on-Sea, Fletcher proved he was harder work than a nine-month-old baby. On a calm January, Saturday, afternoon we headed to Old Leigh for a walk along the estuary and pub lunch with friends and their baby.
Disaster struck when there was queue for the train tickets. Fletcher was too impatient to wait and squealed and squealed. He continued to make a racket while on the platform and on the train. He pulled my husband with all his might from the station to the beach. In fact, we had to leave our friends and let them catch up as he was on a mission. He could smell the sea and he wanted to swim.
While on the beach, he chased stones, splashed, swam and used groynes as agility obstacles. Convinced we had worn him out, we visited the Peter Boat pub for dinner. It was a tight squeeze inside, so we opted to sit on the benches overlooking the estuary.
While a content baby happily sat looking at the sea on his mum’s lap, my baby/puppy screeched and screamed. The hour of beach playing hadn’t been long enough and no number of treats was going to satisfy him. We quickly downed our drinks (I’ve never drank a bottle of Prosecco so fast in my life) and moved on. I think the entire pub was pleased to see us go. My dog really does know how to make a spectacle of himself.
I know I shouldn’t give in to this kind of behaviour but when we’re out in public it’s hard not to choose the easy option. Anyhow, it doesn’t matter what you do or say to Fletcher, if there is water in sight, he’ll make a fuss until he gets what he wants. He really is a water addict. Is doggy rehab a thing?
A similar situation occurred recently too. My husband, Fletcher and I was staying at the wonderful Gardeners Cottage in Blakeney, when the weather took a turn for the worse. Despite 70mph winds, we had to venture out to stop Fletcher bouncing off the walls. Of course, no other dogs were being walked. It was just us being battered by gale force wind on the Quay. Storm Ciara wasn’t going to stop this spaniel having fun!