There’s no hiding it any longer. Now that Teddy’s coat has been clipped short in a bid to beat the heady Auckland heat, his increasing girth cannot be ignored. From some angles, with his super-slick cut, he is beginning to resemble a roly-poly pale grey seal pup. Adorably cuddly, but not terribly healthy.
The trouble is that since last year, when we were told that our beloved dog’s days were numbered, we have been keen to make every day a joy for him, which roughly translates to giving him almost exactly what he wants, when he wants it. Of course, Ted is on to it. Now, when we go for a walk, there are regular moments when he stubbornly plants himself with stiff little legs, because he knows that if he looks a bit wanting, I will more likely than not give him his ultimate treat: a small disc of carrot.
This morning, as Teddy was standing firm and beadily eyeing the pocket in which his carrots are kept, I remembered the advice that Deborah Colella, aka The Dog Nanny gave me: reward the behaviour you want in your dog. Whoops.
It’s time to get back on track. Unfortunately the weather here right now is not really on our side: the humidity in Auckland is enough to curtail the most athletic dog’s romping schedule. Still, we’ll start by spinning out the time between treats and decreasing his daily food intake. Not too onerous. Teddy has exceeded the ‘6 month max’ he was given a year ago and we will be ever thankful for great vets, immunotherapy and pet insurance. When I think of it like that, those little rolls of podge are rather a nice problem for him – and us – to have.