Gail took me for a walk around Dunecht Estate at the weekend, and my wee poodle neighbour Ella joined us while her owner Kirsty stayed home nursing a sore toe.
When Ella first came to live on our street she was all shy and nervous, and I've noticed she tends to stay close to Kirsty or Gail when we're out and about, even when she isn't on a lead. Which in my view is disappointing behaviour.
Although I am not that much older than Ella (she's nine and I'm eleven) I feel she looks up to me* - both literally and metaphorically - and I think of myself as her mentor.
And so on Saturday afternoon I tried to encourage her to be less timid and more adventurous, leading by example of course.
Initially she seemed hesitant.
But soon she gained confidence.
Poodles are of course quick learners,
And by the end of the walk, I'm proud to say Ella was displaying a positively terrier like mindset, happily striking out to investigate some new scent, without heed to whether or not Gail approved...
Way to go Ella!
*Gail feels this is wishful thinking on Bertie's part.