Sunday 5th June

Thought yesterday that I would turn my attention to a situation that does stand a snowball’s chance in hell of having a positive outcome.

I have decided to give my undivided attention to someone who has been, hitherto, rather overlooked in the ‘No, I’m not doing your sodding homework for you’ and ‘Will one of you flush the toilet for god’s sake’ single-mum school of life.

I have decided to set about training the dog.

Hector, made his appearance in our merry band of dysfunctional-ness in the October of 2008. The catalyst for his arrival, if I remember correctly (and I think I do) was the begging and pleading of a teenager who was absolutely, definitely gonna be walking him, feeding him, bathing him and changing him.

Like any good rookie. I fell for it.

Having spent a suitable amount of time doing my canine research which involved Googling things like ‘dogs that won’t rip half your face off’ and ‘dogs that do cool tricks’, I settled on, what I obviously thought, was the ideal dog for a family with four squares of concrete for a garden and a tiny terraced house in the middle of a city that was surrounded by other squares of concrete.

A chariot running, length and breadth of England, coach and horse racing; Dalmatian.

Since the initial novelty wore off, the only time that the Teenager has ever been responsible for exercising the dog is when the dog escapes out of the front door and the Teenager is forced to set off in hot pursuit. Frequently these events occur at times when the Teenager is wearing his ‘slouch gear’.

As I hadn’t originally intended our dog to enjoy all of his walks by dancing down the middle of the road being pursued by a teenager in his pants, waving a dog lead and a remote control, I have decided to take action.

The dog must learn that his name isn’t, in fact, ‘little bastard’ and that walking on a lead is not a ‘Britain’s Strongest Dog’ lorry-towing competition.

He will learn that somebody calling his name is not a signal for him to stand four feet away, wagging his tail, poised, like a goalie in a penalty shoot-out, to see which ‘come-here-you-damned-animal’ direction I’m going to hurl myself in.

He will also learn that the sighting of an old age pensioner with her elderly Jack Russell Terrier in the far distance is not an invitation for a five mile sprint with a ‘pin-‘em-to-the-floor-and-lick-‘em-whilst-ingnoring-their-terrified-screams’ finale.

Ditto: small children.

I’m going to dust off my ‘in a firm tone-iness’ and equip myself with one of those clicker things.

If nothing else, at least that way I’ll have something handy to throw at him.