I try to be patient with Caesar. Sometimes I manage for bursts of time - like in dog training or when doing our 15 minute flash training sessions. However, at other times, particularly on walks, my patience with him begins to run very dry. So, when Emma called at 8:30 on Monday night and asked if I'd like to try walking with her and Tango (something which Caesar has got used to) as well as Sian and Dexter (something Caesar refuses to get used to) I was a little concerned - I'd already used my share of today's patience.
The last meeting with Dexter had gone something like this - I wondered if we were ever going to crack this relationship!
My theory has always been that Caesar can and will get used to almost any dog if given time and maximum exposure. This is how we got him used to Tango and, later, Gemma. With Caesar, love at first sight is not an option. Things take time and....well, patience.
Hastily, after walking a few metres from the house I offered Emma Caesar's lead. "Can you take him?" I asked, looking pleadingly at her. Emma has always been a saint with Caesar. She saw the good in him even perhaps before I did and without a shadow of a doubt has had more belief in him than I ever have. She knows that he is capable of impeccable behaviour and expects nothing less. I, on the other hand, cannot help but embark upon each walk with a feeling of impending doom.
Not the view I'm used to seeing on a walk - but much easier on the arms!
Firstly, and perhaps with slight relief, I noticed that Caesar was behaving in much the same way while Emma was holding him. She wrested to get him to walk next to her and was holding onto the lead with both hands trying to stop him from lunging/running towards Dexter. Sian kept a safe distance as Dexter too was barking and excited about the walk. For a while, we walked metres apart from each other. Emma in the lead with the squawking, squealing nervous wreck that was Caesar. Myself in the middle holding the very sensible and well behaved Tango, who trotted along nicely. And Sian at the back with Dexter who was barking with excitement. Again....I'm sure my neighbours love me....
Thirty minutes into the walk and we had made a little progress. Caesar was walking alongside Emma with small bouts of noiselessness. When he did make noise, Emma held back with him thus removing him from me and Tango which is ideally where he wanted to be. When he had a few seconds of quiet, she sped up to allow him to catch up with me.
Emma walking with Caesar.
This continued for almost an hour. By which time, the gap had began to close. Dexter was now walking sensibly beside Sian and Tango continued to be pretty much unfazed by anything. Caesar was still squawking occasionally but was clearly trying hard to manage this by snorting instead.
By the end of the walk, the three of us were holding an easy conversation and, if only for five to ten minutes, Dexter and Caesar were walking alongside each other...
Caesar and Dexter walking alongside each other!