Dear Sarah and Paul;
We got home with Alfie in good shape yesterday evening. He had a drink, something to eat, and then went into the garden which he explored before doing what dogs do best in gardens! Having done all that at fairly breakneck speed, he came back in and claimed his bed, which is his space, chewed some toys and settled down. He joined us in our sitting room while we had tea and we had some play-time. Alfie was a bit suspicious of the log fire, which we kept guarded, but liked the sheep-skin rug in front of it.
He was restricted to the kitchen overnight, and seemed to have a quiet night, and greeted us in the morning with wags. He was clean overnight and went out into the garden to do his business before eating a bit of breakfast.
He was a bit suspicious of the washing-up machine but bravely stood back and had a good look at it, however he definitely does not like the hoover and left the room smartly! He did come back a couple of times, but never quite plucked up the courage to face this noisy machine. He'll get used to it in time.
We took him with us to muck out the pony this morning. Alfie was reluctant to get into the car, so Kate got in first and Bruce carried him in. Once in he was quite comfortable. He stayed in the car at the stables most of the time and watched proceedings with interest. We took him out to meet Penny (Kate's Fell Pony), who was a bit big and scary, but he got on OK with Elizabeth (a short-legged Shetland). Reluctant again to get into the car for the return journey (the engine was not running), so Kate carried him in and he settled down OK on the back seat. We'll repeat this morning routine and suspect that he will get used to it in time and overcome his worries.
We had a great game with a ball in the garden. Alfie has a good pounce and likes the chase. He gave up the ball gently and has discovered that hiding under the picnic table is a good game! He is learning to "come" and we played the "running between us" game and Bruce even managed to entice him away from his ball and come to him. He always sits when getting a treat and takes it gently.
Alfie went for his first local walk to the Post Office this morning (about 1/2 mile there and back). He was surprisingly good on the lead, though the walk took a bit longer than normal as there were all sorts of strange smells to explore! We met a couple of local dogs, and they introduced themselves in the traditional manner! Alfie was very good with them. He was good too with the people we met, though he did bark at one couple who were striding out a bit and may have looked a bit threatening. He did not pull to try and get to them - just barked (thinking about it that is the first time we have heard him bark) - so it was probably a "protection" thing. We'll have to work on introducing him to strangers. He is learning to "sit" at the road kerb and wait to cross on an "over" command. He seems to pick things up quite quickly.
Some pictures attached.
Thank you for all the information that you gave us and for spending so much time with us.
Bruce and Kate