Teddy is not wildly keen on the din that a dust-cart makes but, other than that, I had begun to think that our puppy was virtually bomb proof: he’s not bothered by thunder, fireworks, cats or squealing children. And then I put Teddy in a jacket.
I should explain that I don’t love clothing on dogs but, increasingly tired of washing and brushing Teddy’s mud-soaked undercarriage after his daily Heath wanderings, I was tempted by a high-tech looking lightweight doggy raincoat. If Stella McCartney had worked with Adidas to put out a dog mac, this is what she would have come up with. In fashionably ‘off’ colours, it comes with flatteringly placed, reflective graphics. The piece is lightweight, waterproof, adjustable, soft, slimline, directional (well, maybe I’m pushing it with the last one, but you get the idea).
Pleased to be properly prepared for a muddy Heath walk, we took this pricey piece of kit home and zipped a bemused Teddy into it. He stood stock-still. “Just use treats, he’ll follow if there’s chicken involved,” I said confidently to my husband as I ran out the door to take the children swimming. Twenty minutes later I received the above image on my iPhone, accompanied by the following message: “Had to carry him to pavement. Wouldn’t budge. Given up.” Oh dear.
We tried again when I got back. Teddy was having none of it. “He feels like a plonker,” said my husband. I must admit that no matter how well this jacket taps into the urban sportswear trend, Ted in said raincoat is Not a Good Look. But I don’t think sartorial elegance was Teddy’s particular beef.
Was he spooked by the sound of the zip? I experimented, swooshing the zipper of a handbag near his ears. Teddy remained completely oblivious. So I slipped Teddy back into his jacket for one more try and realized as I did so the reason for his obstinate protest: the thing rustles. Of course it seems like a perfectly gentle sound to me, but we know how finely tuned a dog’s hearing is. Presumably, to Ted’s ears, each move he makes in that jacket is accompanied by an alarming crunch. No wonder he looks so spooked. Perhaps he is also considering the damage that audible clothing will do to his favourite new pastime: creeping up on crows.
What I need to find out next is do these doggy fixations pass? Or, along with shelving the £70 jacket, should I also make alternative arrangements for my sons’ brand-new, super-crunchy, exceedingly rustly, gigantic beanbags that we took delivery of yesterday and are currently stopping Teddy from entering the sitting room?