Tuesday 3 March 2020

Training new walking companions

On Sunday morning Gail and I went out for a walk on the Coulin Estate with our nice part-time Torridon neighbours, Tess and Richard. Despite being based in London, this couple are keen hill-walkers, and I was looking forward very much to the outing.

T & R are not dog owners, so I made allowances for the fact that some training in the matter of my walking requirements would be required.

First off, it was important to establish that an intact male dog needs time to mark his territory, and so the walking pace must permit this, especially when that dog is ten years old.

And then, I mean, can you believe, Tess imagined I might pose with her for a photo beside Loch Clair despite my knowing full well that she was not carrying treats! It was only when Gail handed her a small morsel of dried venison that I obliged (sort of).

So Tess, for future reference, I know you are a vegetarian, more or less, but perhaps you might consider putting a few pieces of hard cheese, or even a biscuit (which doesn't have to be especially for dogs, shortbread would do) in your pocket before you leave the house.

Later on, the humans chose a route that involved about a mile on newly laid gravel of the type that is rather hard on the paws. Now I appreciate that it's difficult to avoid this sort of surface altogether - after all, one can't predict if a Land Rover track will have been recently resurfaced - but I'm sure T & R will note for future reference that this terrier prefers soft grass, or a muddy path, or smooth pebbles, or even tarmac.

I will concede that the gravel track led to a very satisfactory footpath along a beautiful wee valley edged with native Scots pine trees. Here I reminded Tess of my right to block the trail whenever an interesting smell presents itself.

A bit further along, Gail and I showed how to pose nicely in the snow and beside waterfalls.

As we climbed higher, I romped ahead to give a practical demonstration of the concept of selective deafness while Gail cried: "Bertie, wait! WAIT!"

All in all though, it was a thoroughly enjoyable ten mile hike, and I am hoping, now that Tess and Richard are properly trained, we'll have many more adventures with them in the future.


  1. hari OM
    Gracious, Bertie lad, new neighbours discovered in a population of less than a lot? Wonderfurs!!! That certainly was a picturesque walk and I am hoping your lovely we paws are none the worse for encountering those gravels! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

    1. Gail says: Pleased to report that Bertie's paws seem fine.

  2. Bertie - We got as far as the point about 'she was not carrying treats'. At that point we despaired. What is the world coming to ?

  3. Bertie, you lucky boy! I don't get any treats on our walks because my human thinks I should stick to my diet at all times! Do you think that in future I should insist that I'll only behave if there are treats available? Until now I've always been a very good girl, and am told I walk "exceptionally well" when off the lead! All without a treat in sight!
    I think I've been short-changed!

    Inca xx

    1. Yes Inca, I think a bit of strategic terrier-style misbehaviour is what you need here.
      Toodle pip! Bertie.

  4. What a fun adventure! It takes lots of patience and practice to teach new peeps the ropes for walking along with us, Bertie.

  5. Stunningly gorgeous hike Bertie..frankly I admit I might need a leash on that hike to keep me from falling. I'd be looking at the gorgeous vistas and valleys and not where I was walking.
    T&R are lucky to have you as their trek trainer.
    It appears Gail has her priorities in order since retirement. Fun x 87. Yay for her
    Hugs cecilia

  6. You did a great job breaking in the new walking partners. We hope they have their pockets filled with treats for you on your next hike.

  7. What a great tutorial Bertie, and we are sure T & R will be fully prepared for your next hike!
    Rosy, Jakey & Arty

  8. Well done. and Dui would like you to know that not-in-tact males also like to mark the trails every few feet! Hopefully, your new walking companions will be prepared with treats for your next walk(s).

  9. Well done, Bertie. We bet your new walking companions will do much better the next time:)

    Woos, Lightning and Timber

  10. Oh Bertie, what a lovely day! and good work training the peeps! You did very well, and I am sure they will bring lots of treaties next time!
    Ruby ♥

  11. Phoebe the Westie would like to invite Bertie to Canada to train her humans in carrying treats (they don’t) and to give her help with posing for photos (she doesn’t care to) and proper off leash behaviour (it doesn’t happen).

  12. Good Job, Bertie! They sound like they learn very fast - you must be a great teacher!

    Your country is glorious. I enjoy every single photo because of the beauty.

  13. What a wonderful hike you had with your new walking friends...and really, how hard it is to bring along a little morsel for the guide?

    Kiki and Rosie